MP by-polls crucial for Scindia to make his existence in party

Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh by-polls, scheduled on November 3 are not only a crucial battle for BJP and Congress to the power but also an important fight for Jyotiraditya Scindia to make his existence in the new party.

The by-polls to be held in 28 Assembly segments, are largest ever in the history of the state. Counting of votes will be held on November 10. Former Congress leader Scindia had joined the saffron party in March.

The by-elections were necessitated after the Congress government in the state fell when 22 of its MLAs resigned from the membership of the Assembly and joined the BJP along with Scindia. After then, three other Congress legislators had walked away with the BJP. On Agar, Joura and Biaora Assembly seats, the by-polls are being held due to an untimely demise of two Congress and a BJP's MLAs.

Generally, the results of the by-polls do not affect the majority of the ruling party in the House but these by-elections may disconcert the government in the state.

The Madhya Pradesh Assembly is 230-membered, at present, 28 seats are lying vacant so the strength of the house reduced to 202. The BJP currently has 107 MLAs and the Congress has 88. Additionally, there are four independents, two BSP and a Samajwadi Party MLAs.

The BJP effectively has to win just nine of the 28 seats up for grabs to retain power, assuming it does not receive any support of independents, SP or BSP legislators. The Congress will have to win all the 28 seats to touch 116, the magic number in the House. If the independents, BSP and SP MLAs give their support to Congress then it will have to win at least 21 seats. In the Kamal Nath-led government, these MLAs gave their support to the Congress.

The ruling BJP and the Congress are leaving no stone unturned to woo voters in their favour. Both parties have geared up the election campaign in all 28 constituencies and amid the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state and fielded their star campaigners.

BJP has fielded all those 25 candidates who left the Congress while the Congress has given the ticket to BJP's former ministers, ex-MLAs and those who were contestants in the previous elections on seven seats out of 28.

Kamal Nath has made the by-elections a vote on the "betrayal" of the rebels, who ditched the mandate of the people and sold it to the highest bidder. The Congress leaders have even turned the by-polls to the history of Rani of Jhansi and Scindias of Gwalior and they are saying that the Scindias are historically betrayed. Not to be left behind, Scindia claimed that Kamal Nath "betrayed" the people by not fulfilling the promise of waiving farm loans.

Out of 28 Assembly segments, the 16 by-polls will be held in the Gwalior-Chambal of the state which is considered an influencing region of Scindia erstwhile royal family. The 15 Congress rebel MLAs who are considered a loyal of Jyotiraditya and resigned from the party and Assembly are from the Gwalior region. Apart from chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Scindia is working hard in the by-polls-bound areas. It is considered that these by-polls are to be a do or die issue, politically, for BJP's latest entrant Jyotiraditya.

"The question is not whether BJP will regain power or not, but whether Scindia will be able to secure a good number of seats for the BJP from the Gwalior region or not and prove his worth. If he is unable to do so, he will be 'parked' in the loop-line in the BJP, like many other 'top' leaders who have joined from the Congress in recent times. There are many proverbial 'thorns in the garden' for Scindia right now, a senior minister of the Chouhan's cabinet told the Millennium Post on the condition of anonymity.

However, the BJP has given more weightage to Scindia in the recent state's cabinet expansion. His 14 non-MLAs supporters had been inducted in the Cabinet.

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