Campaigning is heating up in the high stakes battle of the by-polls in Madhya Pradesh as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan seeks to retain his supremacy and former Chief Minister Kamal Nath eyes a comeback.
Amid the charged atmosphere the Congress claimed that the tide is turning in its favour. Party Chief Strategist Digvijaya Singh told the media: "The atmosphere is in favour of the Congress as the government was destabilised by the people who have dishonoured the mandate of the people."
Jyotiraditya Scindia, who along with his supporters quit the Congress and joined the BJP which led to the fall of the Kamal Nath government, is also in all out campaign mode as most of the seats fall in the Gwalior-Chambal region which is his stronghold. To remain in the political game the Congress has to win all the seats or limit the BJP to less than five seats.
The by-polls are being held on 28 seats. All these seats were held by the Congress before its government fell. To win back these seats, Kamal Nath is focusing on the region and addressed rallies in Morena on Thursday.
The Congress is banking on the work done by Kamal Nath as Chief Minister particularly the farm loan waivers. Kamal Nath tweeted "the public is fighting a big war to save democracy."
The Congress says there is a sympathy wave in its favour because of the way its government was pulled down by the Bharatiya Janata Party and "Kamal will rise on November 3".
All the 28 seats for which by-polls are being held were in the Congress' kitty after the Assembly elections, but slipped out of its hands after the party MLAs resigned to support Jyotiraditya Scindia in March 2020 and walked into the BJP camp to ensure the fall of the then government led by Kamal Nath.
The Congress will need to bag all the 28 seats to again get a majority in the Assembly, which is a tough task. On the other hand, the ruling BJP needs only nine seats to reach the magic figure of 116 for a simple majority. In case the Congress wins less than 28 seats but manages around 24, it will still be in the game. Otherwise, it will have to depend on Independents, two MLAs of the Bahujan Samaj Party and the lone Samajwadi Party MLA.
In the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly, the BJP has 107 MLAs, Congress 88, BSP 2, SP 1 while 4 are Independents. Voting will take place on November 3 while the results will be declared on November 10.