The result of the bypolls was scheduled to be declared on October 24.
Bhopal: Stakes are high for Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath in the October 21 byelections in Jhabua (ST) assembly constituency in the state, as the outcome of the by-poll is billed to decide the fate of his ‘minority’ government.
The high voltage campaign in the byelections came to end on Saturday evening. The result of the bypolls was scheduled to be declared on October 24.
Mr Nath had chosen, wittingly or unwittingly, to single-handedly shoulder the responsibility of the bypoll for Congress, beginning from nomination of a candidate to steering campaign, making it a Kamal (Nath) vs ‘kamal’ (lotus, the symbol of BJP) contest in the by-elections.
Curiously, charismatic Congress leader and scion of ex-Gwalior royal family Jyotiraditya Scindia was conspicuous by his absence all through the party’s campaign in the by-elections.
Mr Scindia was seen touring Gwalior-Chambal region in MP, considered his family bastion when half-a-dozen ministers in the Kamal Nath government spread out across the sprawling constituency to canvass support for the party candidate Kantilal Bhuria, a five-time MP and tribal face of Congress.
“Mr Nath has single-handedly managed the entire show in the by-elections. Big leaders of Congress in MP have virtually stayed away from electioneering of the party, even though the by-election may make or mar the state Congress government”, a key aide of Mr Bhuria told this newspaper requesting not to be quoted.
Sources said Mr Scindia was lobbying for ticket in the byelection for his ‘follower’ Javier Medha who joined Congress literally on the eve of April 2019 LS elections. However, Mr Bhuria, considered a staunch supporter of veteran Congress leader Digvijay Singh, has clinched the ticket, leaving Mr Scindia sulking.
Kamal Nath government has a wafer-thin majority in MP assembly as the ruling Congress has the strength of 114 in the 230-member house.
If the party won the Jhabua by-poll, then the Kamal Nath government would get a majority in the assembly, since an Independent has already been inducted in the state ministry. BJP has 109 MLAs.
Mr Bhria is pitted against Bhanu Bhuria, a rookie, of BJP in a multi-cornered contest in the constituency.