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Other States - Madhya Pradesh Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

BJP wrests Jabera from Congress

Mahim Pratap Singh

Party also wins the Purnea by-election in Bihar


Third consecutive by-election victory for the BJP in MP

Purnea election exposes the rift in the RJD-LJP combine


Photo: A. M. Faruqui

Celebration time: Jubilant Bharatiya Janata Party workers at the party headquarters in Bhopal on Wednesday.

BHOPAL: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Madhya Pradesh completed a hat-trick of by-election victories in less than a year by winning the Jabera Assembly seat by a comfortable margin on Wednesday.

Its candidate Dashrath Singh Lodhi defeated Tanya Solomon of the Congress by 11,738 votes in the election necessitated by the death of the latter's father Ratnesh Solomon. The sympathy factor on which the Congress was banking apparently did not work for Dr. Tanya, while the caste factor seems to have favoured Mr. Lodhi, as Jabera has a sizable number of Lodhis.

This is the third consecutive by-election victory for the BJP this year and third consecutive defeat for the Congress, which earlier lost the Kukshi and Sonkatch Assembly seats to the BJP. All three seats were considered Congress strongholds.

The Jabera by-election was viewed as the first test for the new team put in place by the former Chief Minister and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh. The party contested the by-election under the renewed leadership of the Pradesh Congress Committee: Union Tribal Affairs Minister Kantilal Bhuria as PCC chief; former Chief Minister Arjun Singh's son Ajay Singh as Leader of the Opposition; and Priyavrat Singh, new Youth Congress chief, all considered Mr. Digvijay Singh's men.

Mr. Bhuria alleged misuse of government machinery by the BJP in the election, and said it was a victory for the BJP-ruled government, and not for the party.

Shoumojit Banerjee adds from Patna:

The ruling National Democratic Alliance on Wednesday won the Purnea by-election with the Bharatiya Janata Party's Kiran Keshri defeating Ramcharitra Yadav of the Congress by 23,665 votes.

The by-election was necessitated by the murder of the BJP's Raj Kishore Keshri, who was stabbed to death at his home in January by Rupam Pathak, a school teacher who had accused him of repeated sexual abuse and harassment.

The BJP had gone all out to drum up sympathy for Ms. Kiran Keshri, flooding local newspapers with advertisements, highlighting her “dire” situation. Some election watchers attribute her victory to a “sympathy wave”. She polled 53,732 votes against the Lok Jan Shakti Party-backed Mr. Yadav, who secured 30,067 votes. The BJP has, in fact, polled 8,066 more votes than what it secured in the 2010 elections. “This shows we have retained the confidence of Muslim voters,” Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said.

The other star candidate, Amit Sarkar of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), finished third, polling 17,113 votes. The Australia-returned Sarkar, who was supported by the Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal, is the son of the slain CPI(M) MLA Ajit Sarkar.

Of the four other contestants, all of whom forfeited their deposits, Independents Satish Sah and Krishna Kumar Jha got 1,855 and 508 votes, Islamuddin of the CPI (ML) 1,554 and Om Prakash Bhagat of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha 898.

The by-election also exposed the rift in the RJD-LJP combine as the two allies backed the opposing candidates. LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan's rumoured overtures to the Congress was said to be the chief cause of a probable schism.This charge was, however, denied by top leaders of both parties, including Mr. Paswan. The alliance was trounced in last year's elections, winning just 25 seats in the 243-member Assembly.

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