MP Bypoll election results 2020 live updates:
At stake in Madhya Pradesh are the political ambitions of four senior national leaders — Kamal Nath of the Congress, and Jyotiraditya Scindia, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and Narendra Singh Tomar of the BJP.
The Maharaj, who lost his traditional parliamentary seat Guna in the 2019 general election with a margin of more than 1 lakh votes, needs to prove to his new party that he has support in the Gwalior-Chambal region. These elections may in fact be the most crucial of Scindia’s political career.
If his loyalists manage to win and take the BJP comfortably over the line, his political stature will rise, and he will be in a strong bargaining position ahead of a ministerial reshuffle at the Centre. Conversely, if the Congress wins more seats than the BJP, it will be a personal humiliation for him, even if Chouhan’s government survives.
The Gwalior-Chambal area, where 16 of the 28 seats are located, is a stronghold of both Scindia and senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, both of whom are from erstwhile royal families of the region. The snubs from Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh are seen as one of the major reasons for Scindia’s decision to abandon the Congress for the BJP.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan
For the four-term Chief Minister who was sidelined by his party’s central leadership after the BJP lost the 2018 Assembly elections, these by-polls are an opportunity to prove his continued importance and relevance in the state.
Chouhan is leaving no stone unturned to win the bypolls — from kneeling and seeking forgiveness from farmers in Mandsaur to making announcements that will cost the financially stressed state nearly Rs 3,000 crore.
The 74-year-old veteran is looking for a comeback. Addressing a rally after losing power due to Scindia’s revolt, the former Union Minister asked emotionally: “Meri kya galti thi ki meri sarkar gira di gai? Kyon ki main achchha kaam kar raha tha?”
Later in that same rally, he vowed to returned to power, and has since taken full charge of the political affairs of his party, from the distribution of tickets to deploying booth-level in-charges.
Narendra Singh Tomar
The by-elections are also important for BJP leader Narendra Singh Tomar, who had played a key role in bringing the rebel Congress MLAs to his party. He too belongs to the same region as Scindia — Gwalior — and an impressive performance in the by-elections will enhance Tomar’s stature in the party, and could boost his chief ministerial ambitions.
The BJP has been fighting heartburn within after deciding to reward almost all the rebels supporting Scindia. Party workers have expressed displeasure over the sidelining of veteran leaders during the expansion of the Chouhan ministry. An emphatic victory will give the party more headroom and time to sort out the problems in its state unit.