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Shiv Sena And Hindu Mahasabha Aided BJP’s Defeat In Madhya Pradesh

BJP lost five seats in Madhya Pradesh because of the presence of candidates from pro-Hindutva outfits like Shiv Sena

Published
Elections
3 min read
Shiv Sena activists during a protest.
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The Shiv Sena and Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha have been vocal critics of the BJP from within the Hindutva fold. However, they have now contributed to the BJP’s defeat in a politically significant state: Madhya Pradesh.

In three seats, the candidates put up by the Sena and Hindu Mahasabha polled more votes than the BJP’s margin of defeat.

For instance in the Suswara seat in Mandsaur district, the 360 votes secured by Shiv Sena candidate Jitender Suri were enough to ensure the victory of Congress’ Hardeep Singh Dang over BJP’s Radheshyam Patidar. Dang won by 350 votes, just ten less than the votes polled for the Shiv Sena.

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The other seat where the Shiv Sena contributed to the BJP’s defeat is Nepanagar in Burhanpur district, near Madhya Pradesh’s border with Maharashtra. A sizeable number of people in the constituency speak Marathi, which partly explains the Shiv Sena’s influence. Here Sena candidate Gansingh Patel secured 3,721 votes. The Congress won the seat by a margin of 1,264.

This isn’t the first time the Shiv Sena has harmed the BJP outside Maharashtra. In the Bihar Assembly elections, the party polled over 4,000 votes in the Dinara seat, causing the defeat of prominent BJP leader and RSS favourite Rajendra Singh by a margin of less than 3,000 votes.

Coming back to Madhya Pradesh, the Hindu Mahasabha played spoiler to the BJP in the Gwalior South constituency. Its candidate Laxman Soni got 179 votes and Narayan Singh Kushwaha, renewable energy minister in the outgoing BJP government, lost the seat by 121 votes to the Congress’ Praveen Pathak.

Since much of the support for the Shiv Sena and Hindu Mahasabha comes from pro-Hindutva voters, it is quite likely that the votes secured by these parties would have otherwise gone to the BJP.

Another pro-Hindutva outfit that harmed the BJP in Madhya Pradesh is the Bharatiya Shakti Chetna Party (BSCP). The party got 3,443 votes in the Damoh constituency, where BJP’s finance minister Jayant Malaiya lost to the Congress’ Rahul Singh by a narrow margin of 798 votes. This was one of the seats where the counting went on till late on December 11 with BJP and Congress inching ahead at different points of time.

The BSCP cost the BJP the Pathariya constituency, which is also located in Damoh district. Here the party’s candidate Chhoti Bahu Lodhi got 3,744 votes and the BJP lost the seat to the Bahujan Samaj Party by a margin of 2,205 votes.

The BSCP was founded by a spiritual guru Shaktiputra ji Maharaj, who is said to operate from an Asharam in Beohari in Shahdol district. His main political plank is the prohibition of alcohol and a “pure and religious way of life.”

Shiv Sena, Hindu Mahasabha and BSCP contributed to the BJP’s defeat in five constituencies. Had they stayed away BJP would have won 114 seats.
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The BJP lost five seats because of the presence of these three parties. These five seats would have taken the BJP’s tally to 114 and brought down the Congress’ tally to 110. Being just one short of the majority mark, BJP would have had a good chance of forming the government in the state. Their opposition to the BJP in the state is despite outgoing chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s efforts to placate religious outfits, even to the extent of giving godmen ministerial ranks.

By contributing to the BJP’s defeat in Madhya Pradesh, the Shiv Sena and Hindu Mahasabha have drawn blood in their intra-Hindutva tussle with the ruling party. The confrontation is only likely to increase with the two outfits now planning to mobilise support for the Ram Mandir and accusing the BJP of “delaying” its construction.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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