Next Week's Madhya Pradesh Bypolls A Prestige Contest For BJP, Congress


Jyotiraditya Scindia campaigning for the upcoming assembly bypolls in Madhya Pradesh

Mungaoli, Madhya Pradesh:  By-elections to two assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh next week appears to be a prestige battle between chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia. The bypolls to Mungaoli and Kolaras will set the tone for the assembly elections that are due in November this year.

Both the seats are part of Mr Scindia’s parliamentary constituency Guna, and were earlier held by the Congress. And in a territory once ruled by Mr Scindia’s ancestors, the Congress lawmaker is referred to as “maharaj” or king in banners and posters that have been put up.

Mr Scindia, who has been aggressively campaigning for his party candidates for over a month now, is pitching the upcoming bypolls as a battle between individuals.  “This fight is not between the Congress and the BJP, it is between Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Jyotiraditya Scindia,” he told a gathering at Peeplakheda that will vote on February 24.

Her aunt and a minister in the BJP-ruled state government, Yashodhara Raje, has also been campaigning in Kolaras. Asked if it’s a Scindia versus Scindia battle, Mr Scindia said, “This is not a fight between two family members”.

The bypolls are being seen as a precursor to the assembly polls. While the BJP has come up with slogans like “abki baar 200 paar” (this time we will cross 200 seats), for the Congress it’s “abki baar Scindia sarkar” (this time the govt will be headed by Scindia).

BJP had won 165 of the 230 assembly seats in the last elections. The Congress had 58 lawmakers.

The Congress has not yet named a chief ministerial candidate for the assembly elections. Mr Scindia’s supporters believe a Congress win in the bypolls would stand him in good stead. The BJP that lost two seats to the Congress in the bypolls held last year is keen on recovering lost ground. “BJP will win both the seats,” claimed minister and party spokesperson Narottam Mishra.

The bypoll results will be declared on February 28.

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