Madhya Pradesh Bypolls: BJP Wins 19 Seats, Congress Picks Up 9

A total of 28 seats in the MP state assembly had gone to bypolls on 3 November.

2 min read
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Image used for representation

Winning 19 seats in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly bypolls, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday, 10 November, attained a simple majority in the 230-member House.

Meanwhile, the Indian National Congress has won nine seats. A total of 28 seats in the MP state assembly had gone to bypolls on 3 November.

In a bypolls, necessitated by defections and political turmoil in the state, this "mini-election" was seen as an important litmus test for CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan as well as former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose defection to the BJP engineered a change in government in the state.

The Madhya Pradesh Assembly has 230 members, of which the BJP currently holds 107 seats. The Congress, which has 87 seats in the Assembly now, needed to win all 28 seats to be able to form the government or at least win 21 to be in a position to bargain with smaller parties.

The BJP's win in the bypolls means that the party will comfortably retain the chief minister's chair in the state.

Why Are These Bypolls Happening?

In March 2020, 22 sitting Congress MLAs of MP defected to the BJP, alongwith Jyotiraditya Scindia. This led to the fall of Kamal Nath's Congress government which lasted only 15 months. Over the next few months, three other Congress MLAs joined the BJP.

The other three seats fell vacant due to the demise of the sitting MLAs.

Big Test for Chouhan, Scindia

The heavy electioneering for these bypolls show how important they were for the political scene in Madhya Pradesh.

The BJP, now forced to accommodate Scindia supporters in the party, is trying to put up an united front.

All 25 Congress defectors were fielded from their respective constituencies despite protests from the traditional BJP cadre.

Additionally, 16 of the 28 bypoll seats are in the Gwalior-Chambal region, which also within Scindia’s sphere of influence. It is a prestige battle for Scindia who lost the Lok Sabha elections from the region in 2019, and is looking at winning favour with the BJP leadership by proving his political clout.

The area is also the stronghold of Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and his son Jaivardhan Singh.

It will also be an open contest between Scindia and Singh loyalists in the Congress, bringing to the forefront a battle that was earlier fought internally within the party.

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