Bhopal: The ruling BJP has retained the Shahdol (ST) Lok Sabha seat with Madhya Pradesh minister Gyan Singh defeating his nearest rival Himadri Singh of Congress party by a margin of 60,383 votes in the by-election.
Gyan Singh is a senior State Minister and a tribal leader. He has also won this seat in 1996 and 1998. The losing Congress candidate Himadri Singh is the daughter of former Union Minister Dalbir Singh and ex-MP Rajesh Nandini Singh.
There were 17 candidates in the poll fray for the Shahdol parliamentary seat. This seat fell vacant due to the death of sitting BJP MP Dalpat Singh Paraste.
The BJP has also won the by-election for the Nepanagar Assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh. This seat has gone to BJP’s Manju Rajendra Dadu, who secured 99626 votes against 57428 votes polled in favour of his nearest rival Antarsingh Devi Singh Barde of Congress.
In the Shahdol by-election, While Gyan Singh bagged 4,81,398 votes, his Congress rival trailed behind with 4,21,015 votes. The Shahdol by-election result has come as a saving grace for Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is now confronted with the anti-incumbency factor. The ruling BJP also suffered a negative swing of votes due to the immediate impact of demonetisation of high currency notes on farmers and the general public as well as the anger among a vast majority of State government employees due to the Chief Minister’s decision to challenge in Supreme Court the Jabalpur High Court order declaring as unconstitutional the special rule that provides for reservation in promotion for State Government employees. Despite the adverse circumstances, the BJP still managed to win the Shahdol seat largely due to its high intensity campaign. On the other side, the Congress party failed to take advantage of the voters’ mood against the BJP which was so palpable across Assembly segments. The Congress campaign was poorly managed and its leaders and poll managers also failed to demonstrate unity of purpose.
The swing of votes against the BJP in Shahdol is explicit from the fact that its victory margin this time got reduced from 2,41,301 in the 2014 general election to 60,383.