The bypolls in 28 assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh after a political storm in March seem to be a defining moment for politics in the central Indian state.
More than who gets to remain in power, the outcome will shape the political future of many stalwarts like seasoned Kamal Nath, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and BJP’s new entrant Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose future stature solely lies on the performance of his loyalists in Gwalior-Chambal region.
For Kamal Nath, at 73, this could be a last hit at power before he walks into the political sunset after an illustrious career as a parliamentarian for over four decades. Having lost power in just 15 months, Nath will be edgy to return to power to complete his term as the chief minister.
However, given the numbers stacked in assembly, it almost seems a herculean task as the Congress with 87 MLAs needs all the 28 wins or at least 20 plus victories so that they could woo old allies.
Meanwhile, after the recent disintegration in the grand old party, it almost seems a task next to impossible for the Congress veteran. The bypoll outcome could also define how much say Nath would be left with in the party in future.
For the Congress party as well, a defeat could lead to further rebellion further denting the depleted state unit after 25 MLAs had left in March and subsequent months. However for the BJP, stakes are also very high.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who had an undisputed run in power for 13 years before acceding defeat to veteran Kamal Nath in year 2018, the bypoll wins and remaining in power are key to his political future.
With his old detractors like Uma Bharti and Kailash Vijayvargiya remaining active in MP politics, a loss could beleaguer Chouhan immensely in his own party, especially after the entry of Jyotiraditya Scindia who had few names to match his political stature in state BJP.
Plus, the bypolls are also first major test for BJP state head VD Sharma, an RSS man who was drafted into the state BJP despite his inexperience in poll politics. To add, Sharma is a first time MP from Khajuraho.
To say the least, the bypolls are do-or-die battle for Scindia family scion, Jyotiraditya Scindia, who had taken a massive step in March this year, leaving Congress and embracing the saffron party, putting much on stake.
With 16 of his close aides in fray in Gwalior-Chambal, Scindia is hoping for maximum victories for his aides to start things on a high note in the Bharatiya Janata Party. As political analysts believe a dismal show could severely affect Scindia’s newly-found clout in MP BJP unit.
However, for Shivraj and company and many senior leaders in BJP who hail from Gwalior-Chambal region, a bright show for Scindia in bypolls won’t be a very good news for them.
Though exit polls are suggesting empathic win for BJP but unease is prevailing in both the camps ahead of counting with both the parties accusing each other of engaging in horse trading. To add, both are predicting thumping win.
Shivraj minister Arvind Singh Bhaduaria, the chief architect of the March coup, on Monday told News18 that the BJP government with 107 MLAs and support of seven others including independents, two BSP and one SP MLA, is already in majority. The BJP is also in constant touch with these seven MLAs and some Congressmen as well.
Congress-turncoat-BJP candidate Govind Singh Rajput’s supporters have put up congratulatory posters in Surkhi in Sagar, Rajput however has feigned ignorance about these messages. Besides several in the fray including Suwasra BJP candidate and minister Hardeep Singh Dang are engaging themselves in puja to earn victory blessings.
Besides fate of 12 non-MLA ministers and two others who have resigned also dependent on bypoll outcome. “If we win a single seat, this makes our tally 115 which is clear majority in the house of 229, as bypolls on one seat is not being held,” said Bhadauria.
On contrary, former Congress minister Sajjan Singh Verma predicted landslide win for his party. They are serving notices to MLAs like Jitu Patwari and Alok Chaturvedi and destroyed the properties of Computer Baba and MLA Arif Masood, which suggests that they (BJP) aren’t sure of their win, added Verma.