Only Chhhindwara survives Modi deluge in MP

Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath. (PTI File Photo)

 The unprecedented Modi deluge has swept away the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, barring its bastion of Chhindwara, which the party managed to retain with a considerably reduced margin of 38,500 votes. 

While Chief Minister Kamal Nath has won Chhindrawa Assembly bypoll and got his son Nakul Nath elected in his traditional seat, two other Congress stalwarts Digvijaya Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia — have faced stunning a loss in Bhopal and Guna seats.

This is first time that any member of the Scindia family has tasted defeat in any electoral battle in MP, though Jyotiraditya’s grandmother had lost to Indira Gandhi in Rae Bareli in 1980 Lok Sabha election. His father, the late Madhavrao Scindia, remained undefeated throughout his illustrious political career.

The most stunning result was in one of the most high-profile seats in Bhopal, where two-time Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh is trailing behind a huge margin of over 3.5  lakh votes to Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.

Despite her series of controversial remarks during and after the campaigning which earned even the Prime Minister’s condemnation, the terror accused has breezed through the polls that she termed a Dharam Yudh (religious war) against  “demonic forces" in the highly-polarised Bhopal seat.

This is the worst ever Congress defeat since 1977 when it had won only Chhindwara out of 40 seats in undivided Madhya Pradesh.

Like elsewhere in the Hindi heartland, Congress’s near-total wipe-out is solely attributable to one factor—Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister addressed 14 rallies in the state but nowhere did he seek votes in the name of party candidates; he sought a vote in the name of Modi only.

The five-month-old Kamal Nath government strived hard to reap electoral gains by pushing through the farmer loan waiver scheme, coupled with the Rahul Gandhi’s minimum income scheme. However, the emotional appeal of the Prime Minister, to vote for his masculine nationalism overrode the Congress’ promises.

The Modi wave, which was not visible on the surface, has turned out to be so massive that the Congress candidates in 28 out of 29 seats have either lost or are trailing behind their BJP rivals by more than two to five lakh votes. The wave uniformly cut across caste, sex, creed, and rural-urban divide, to drown the Congress ship in the state.  

Barely five months ago, Congress had wrested power from the BJP in the state after a 15-year long struggle in the Opposition. In the Assembly election, the Congress had managed to get the lead in 12 parliamentary constituencies but all the gains were crushed under the Modi juggernaut in the Lok Sabha elections. 

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