The BJP won 19 seats out of the 28 assembly constituencies where bye-polls were held in Madhya Pradesh, giving it a comfortable majority in the House and providing stability to its eight-month-old government in the state. The results have also come as a shot in the arm for former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who took a big political risk by quitting the Congress and joining the BJP in March.
With most of his loyalists winning the November 3 bye-polls, Scindia, a Rajya Sabha MP, will look to cement his place in the BJP. Out of the 28 seats which were up for grabs in bye-polls, the ruling BJP has won 19. Congress, in the opposition, has managed to secure victory in eight seats.
In the 230-member House, the BJP tally has increased to 126 (well above simple majority mark of 116), providing stability to the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. Before the bye-polls, the BJP's tally in the House stood at 107.
In Sanver, Scindia loyalist Tulsi Silawat is leading by a margin of47,947 votes against Congress candidate Prem Chand Guddu. BJP minister OPS Bhadoria is leading in Mehgaon by a margin of 12,021 votes, while his party colleague Subedar Singh Rajoudha is ahead by 13,478 votes in Joura.
BJP minister Girraj Dandotiya is trailing in Dimani by a margin of 26,178 votes against Congress candidate Ravindra Singh Tomar. The saffron partys nominee, Munna Lal Goyal, is trailing by a margin of 7604 votes against Congress candidate Dr Satish Sikarwar in Gwalior-East.
However, in a setback to the BJP, its woman minister Imarti Devi lost bye-poll from the Dabra assembly seat, an election official said.
Congress candidate Suresh Raje defeated Imarti Devi, considered a loyalist of Scindia, by a margin of 7,633 votes, the official said.
State Congress president Kamal Nath's "item" jibe at Imarti Devi during campaigning had generated a controversy and invited criticism. The former chief minister later expressed regret over the comment.
Though the Congress left no stone unturned in portraying Scindia as a traitor because of his rebellion against the Kamal Nath government that paved the way for the BJP's return to power, the campaign plank failed to find much traction among voters.
Scindia has repeatedly said his decision to quit the Congress was driven by "failure" of the erstwhile Nath government to fulfil promises made to people, especially farmers.
The BJP's victory in these bye-polls will certainly strengthen Scindias position in the BJP at the Centre, a political analyst said.
However, the BJP suffered some loss in the Gwalior-Chambal region where two of its ministers, Adal Singh Kansana (Sumaoli) and Imarti Devi, faced defeat.
The BJP narrowly won Bhander, where its nominee Raksha Santram Saronia defeated popular Dalit leader Phool Singh Baraiya by a margin of 161 votes.
Besides, Scindia's supporter also lost in Karera in Shivpuri district.
There are a total of 34 seats in the Gwalior-Chambal region of which the Congress had won 26 in the 2018 assembly polls. "Bye-polls were held on 16 seats in this region and among them Scindiaâ€™s supporters are set to win nine seats which were earlier with the Congress. That is more than 60-70% (of seats where bye-polls were held in the region), state BJP spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi said.
Earlier, the Congress had won more than 80% of these seats because of the Scindia factor, he said.
Scindiaâ€™s supporters won decisively in Bamori, Mungaoli and Ashok Nagar, assembly segments falling under the Guna parliamentary constituency, once represented by him.
Among the six ministers who resigned from the Congress along with Scindia, only Imarti Devi lost in the bye-poll. Others like Silawat, Mahendra Singh Sisodia, Govind Singh Rajput, Dr Prabhuram Choudhary and Pradyumna Singh Tomar won decisively from their respective constituencies. Choudhary won with a huge margin of 63,809 votes - the highest so far - from the Sanchi (SC) seat.
Elated over the BJPâ€™s performance, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the outcome proves voters supported the decision taken by Congress MLAs to pull down the previous Kamal Nath dispensation. "It has been proved today that public has supported the decision taken by our MLA colleagues under the leadership of Scindia (BJPs Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia) to pull down the (Nath) government," Chouhan told party workers.
He said the BJP has secured 11% more votes than the Congress and termed it as an "incredible" achievement. â€śWe won seats with huge margins and lost few with thin margins. We humbly accept the victory,â€ť the CM said.
On the other hand, Nath accepted defeat and said the party made efforts to reach out to people.
"We accept the mandate. We made every effort to reach out to voters. I also thank all voters who participated in the by-elections. I hope that the BJP government will take care of the interest of farmers, provide employment to the youth, maintain the respect and safety of women," Nath said in a tweet.
In March, 22 Congress MLAs, mostly loyalists of Scindia, had resigned from the party and the Madhya Pradesh Assembly. This led to the collapse of the Nath government and cleared the way for the BJP to again come to power. Scindia and his loyalists joined the BJP, with many of them becoming ministers in the Chouhan government.
Voting for bye-elections in 28 constituencies was held on November 3 and counting of ballots was taken up on Tuesday.