Campaigning for Jhabua assembly bypoll in MP ends
Campaigning for the October 21 Jhabua assembly by-poll in Madhya Pradesh, where the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP are locked in a keen contest, ended at 5 pm on Saturday. Chief Minister Kamal Nath and his predecessor and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan held rallies in Ranapur area on the last day of campaigning.
The Congress, which enjoys a slim majority in the Assembly, is trying its best to wrest the seat away from BJP. While the main contestants are senior Congress leader Kantilal Bhuria and the BJP's Bhanu Bhuria who is making his electoral debut, three independents -- Kalyan Singh Damor, Neelesh Damor and Rameshwar Singhar -- are also in the fray.
The BJP's G S Damor had defeated Vikrant Bhuria of the Congress in the assembly polls last year. Damor made Vikrant's father Kantilal Bhuria bite the dust in the subsequent Lok Sabha election from Ratlam seat. As Damor resigned as MLA after winning the Lok Sabha election, by-election became necessary.
During the campaigning, a police case was registered against BJP leader Gopal Bhargava when he said, at a rally in Jhabua on September 30, that this was a fight between "Pakistan and India". Bhargava, who is Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, sought votes for Bhanu Bhuria saying he represented India while the rival Congress nominee represented Pakistan.
The next day, the police registered a case against him for alleged violation of the model code of conduct on the direction of the election authorities. The Congress had won this seat, reserved for tribals, 10 times since 1952.
But the BJP wrested it away in 2013 and retained it in 2018. During the campaigning, the BJP attacked Kantilal Bhuria and Congress, saying they did nothing in terms of the development of the region in the last three decades.
Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh too canvassed for Kantilal Bhuria, known to be his loyalist. However, Congress general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia stayed away from campaigning. Among Scindia loyalists, former MLA Xavier Meda, who failed to get a ticket for the by-poll, campaigned for the party.
Meda had rebelled against Congress' Vikrant Bhuria in last year's assembly election, helping the BJP retain the seat. Meda had got 35,943 votes, paving the way for the BJP's victory by over 10,000 votes. He was expelled from the party after the elections but was inducted back later.
The BJP managed to present a united front, with Chouhan and other leaders including state party chief Rakesh Singh and Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Faggan Singh Kulaste campaigning for their party.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)