BHOPAL: BJP Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia proved to be the man of the match as the saffron party swept the Madhya Pradesh bypolls on Tuesday. Fifteen of the 22 loyalists who quit Congress and followed him into the saffron camp won.
Scindia’s triumph put the spotlight on Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh, against whom he had rebelled in March this year. Having lost the government after just 15 months, and a steady exodus of MLAs, Congress’s strength in the assembly is now whittled down to 96 seats by the bypoll defeat.
After BJP’s victory, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said Scindia has “melted into BJP like sugar in milk”.
Three ministers of the Scindia camp lost — including Imarti Devi, widely believed to have the best chance of victory. BJP’s victory in nine of the 16 seats in Gwalior-Chambal region and 20 of the 28 that went to the polls, plus massive victories of Tulsiram Silawat and Govind Singh Rajput, however, have cemented his rising clout in BJP. Eleven of the 14 Scindia loyalists who were made ministers have been re-elected from their old constituencies.
Scindia cannot be relieved of his responsibility for the party’s rout in three of five constituencies in Morena district — Morena, Dimni and Sumawali. Morena is also a stronghold of Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and BJP MP president VD Sharma. In Gwalior region, Scindia loyalist Munnalal Goyal lost to Congress’ Satish Sikarwar. Imarti’s defeat was the biggest shock to the Scindia camp.