Congress springs surprise in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh (Lead)

May 16th, 2009 - 10:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bhopal, May 16 (IANS) The Congress Saturday won 12 out of the 29 parliamentary constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, in a result that left its rivals as well as political analysts surprised in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled state.
The BJP had to be content with 16 seats while one seat went to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). In the last Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had won only four seats.

“No one, not even the Congress leaders themselves, would have expected such a spectacular performance from the party given the fact that it was badly trounced in the state assembly elections six months ago. Also, it was not expected to cross its previous tally of four, given the infighting in the state Congress,” said poll analyst Girija Shankar.

The BJP’s tally sparked off a round of soul-searching in the state unit of the party.

“The biggest folly of the BJP seems to have been that it took voters for granted. There were also reports of state party managers not being happy with the whole command of the elections being given to Sushma Swaraj who by all yardsticks is an outsider,” said a senior state BJP leader.

“The state leadership was also afraid of its position being threatened with the presence of Sushma in the state despite her repeated denials that she would never like to be active in state politics nor was she interested in becoming chief minister.”

On the other hand, Ajay Singh, the Madhya Pradesh Congress campaign committee chairman, attributed the improved performance of the party to a realisation among people that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan did not speak the truth on a number of issues.

“Chouhan is in the habit of lying to an extent that he had been claiming credit for a number of central schemes - something which did not go down well with the people”.

Attributing the Congress’ performance to the hard work by workers and senior leaders, Madhya Pradesh party chief Suresh Pachouri said: “The people of the state who were fed up with the BJP misrule have re-imposed their faith in Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.”

Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, who herself stood victorious from the state’s Vidisha parliamentary constituency, said the results of the Lok Sabha elections were not up to her party’s expectations.

“The results are not along expected lines and the reasons for the party’s defeat will be analysed in detail by senior party leaders,” Swaraj told a group of visiting journalists.

On whom she held responsible for the ‘poor show’ in the state, she said, “The party believes in sharing collective responsibility and the same is true in this case also.”

When asked whether the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani would continue as the leader of opposition, she said she would like him to play that role.

Chief Minister Chouhan also said the trends of the Lok Sabha results in the state is not as per the ruling BJP’s expectations. “It is too early to say anything at this point of time,” he told IANS over phone.

Prominent Congress winners included central minister Kamal Nath who won for the eighth time from Chhindwara; Narain Singh who trounced Laxman Singh (BJP), the brother of Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh; Meenakshi Natrajan who defeated veteran BJP leader Laxmi Narain Pande; Jyotiraditya Scindia from Guna and Arun Yadav from Khandwa.

The BJP candidates who have made their way to the parliament from Madhya Pradesh include Sushma Swaraj from Vidisha, Yashodhara Raje Scindia from Gwalior, Kailash Joshi from Bhopal, Sumitra Mahajan from Indore, Jyoti Durve from Betul, Makhan Singh from Khargone, Rakesh Singh from Jabalpur, Jeetendra Singh Bundela from Khajuraho and Ashok Argal from Bhind.

The lone seat that went non-Congress, non-BJP was Rewa parliamentary constituency from where Devraj Singh Patel won on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket.

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