The Kamal Nath government has touched the majority mark with Congress' victory in the Jhabua Assembly bypolls. Former union minister Kantilal Bhuria has snatched the seat from the BJP by an impressive margin of 27,804 votes. With this win, the Congress tally has gone up to 115, while the BJP’s tally has reduced to 108 in the 230-strong Madhya Pradesh Assembly.
Kantilal Bhuria garnered 95,907 votes against his BJP rival Bhanu Bhuria, who polled 68,228 votes.
The result of the Jhabua bypolls is a major shot in the chief minister’s arm because his government is no longer dependent on outside support from the Samajwadi Party, BSP and independent MLAs.
Two BSP, one SP and four independent MLAs have held out threats of withdrawing support to the government several times, ever since the Congress ousted the BJP in the Assembly election in November last year.
These MLAs also exerted pressure on Chief Minister Kamal Nath to induct them into the cabinet. The chief minister somehow managed to placate them but the threats created an impression that the government is unstable and susceptible to political blackmail. The BJP underscored the government’s apparent precariousness to attack the chief minister.
The Jhabua victory has helped Congress overcome the Opposition’s pressure.
The bypoll was necessitated by the resignation of the BJP MLA from the seat following his election to the Lok sabha. In the 2018 Assembly election, Guman Singh Damor had defeated the Congress’ Dr Vikrant Bhuria. Six months later, the sitting MLA was nominated by the BJP for the Jhabua Lok Sabha election, which he won against Congress’s Kantilal Bhuria.