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BJP owns MP, in a landslide

May 13, 2004 21:55 IST

Flying counter to the prevailing trend, the BJP swept Madhya Pradesh, bagging 25 of the 29 Lok Sabha seats on offer - four more than its 1999 tally.

The result replicated its stunning victory in the Assembly polls of December last year, as the BJP displayed its dominance of the Mahakoshal, Malwa, Vindhya and Chambal regions of what is the second largest state in the country.

It's gains came at the expense of the Congress, whose existing tally of eight seats was halved. The Congress, in the lead up to the polls, was a diffident unit, seemingly still reeling from the drubbing it received during the Assembly elections which returned the BJP to power with a landslide three-fourths majority in the 230-member Assembly.

The BJP bagged nine seats in its traditional stronghold, the Malwa region, where it wrested Dhar and Khargone from the Congress' grasp. The latter party however managed to retain the tribal-dominated Jhabua.

 

In the backward and politically sensitive region of Mahakoshal, the BJP won six of seven seats on offer, losing only the high-profile Chhindwara.

In the Chambal-Vindhya region comprising 11 seats, the BJP secured nine, leaving Gwalior and Guna to the Congress.

The Congress, seemingly a dispirited bunch, failed to raise any issue of relevance to the electorate; it failed, too, to match the well-oiled electioneering machinery of the BJP. Probably anticipating defeat, senior Congress leaders in fact spent minimal time in the state, preferring to use their campaign time in other, more high-value territories.

The result could have been envisaged on polling day, when Congress cadres largely stayed home in stark contrast to the BJP, which flooded every area with volunteers willing and able to get out the vote.

The BJP surge in fact was so strong as to cut into the victory margins of Congress stalwart Kamal Nath, and of Jyotiraditya, son of the late Congress stalwart Madhavrao Scindia.

Nath won a sixth straight election from Chhindwara, but his opponent, Union Miinister Prahlad Patel, cut his winning margin in half from the over one lakh vote difference he enjoyed in 1999.

Even so, Nath's win is considered impressive given the all-out efforts the BJP made to capture this prestigious constituency, and the presence of the Gondwana Ganatantra Party (GGP), whose nominee cut into the traditional tribal votes of Congress.

Jyotiraditya Scindia's margin came down even more dramatically, from the four lakh-plus he enjoyed in the by-election following the death of his father, to just over 86,000 votes now.


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