Ruling BJP suffers setback in MP, SP wrests Assembly seat in bypoll

By Pervez Bari,

Bhopal: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), suffered a setback when the Samajwadi Party, (SP), today wrested the Lanjhi Assembly seat from it in the Balaghat district of central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh by a margin of 3,734 votes.

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Samrite, who contested the bypoll from jail, polled 28,779 votes while his nearest rival Mrs. Dhareshwari Bhatere of BJP got 25,045 votes. Congress candidate Bhagwatbhau Nagpure garnered 11,738 votes to settle for third place.

The breakaway political outfit of BJP and Uma Bharti’s Bhartiya Janshakti candidate Budhram Devgade could muster only 1,096 votes, while Rashtriya Samanta Dal’s Sukhlal Kushwaha polled 1,311 votes, sources said.

Samrite has been in jail since January one, this year in a case of arson and loot under the Arms Act, following dispute with a contractor. Besides, 41 other cases were registered against him in different police stations of the district.

The bypoll was necessitated due to the death of sitting BJP MLA Dilip Bhatere, whose wife Mrs. Dhareshwari Bhatere was fielded as the BJP candidate to encash on the sympathy wave. However, this strategy of BJP failed to revive the fortunes of its candidate.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Kamal Nath’s bid to test waters in Madhya Pradesh for the next year’s Vidhan Sabha general elections with an eye on chief ministership came a cropper. His thrust, frequent visits and resource mobilisation in the Lanji by-election which had generated much interests in Congress circles did not prove fruitful. The outcome will have a bearing on Congress internal politics as well.

It may be mentioned here that Nath, a senior leader from Madhya Pradesh has been eyeing the State for some time. In interviews to the media he has expressed willingness to return to the State in some way or the other. His followers also believe that he could be the best Chief Minister. He has been representing Chhindwara constituency for more than 16 years. ([email protected])