Poll counting in Madhya Pradesh continues to be a cliffhanger with Congress leading with 115 seats in the 230-strong state assembly, hoping to oust CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government in the state. An appointment will be given only after the situation is made clear by the Election Commission, which clarified that the margin between BJP and Congress has widened as of 3.35 PM.
At around 7 PM, Congress’ vote share surpassed that of the BJP’s, according to the EC. Celebrations were underway outside the Congress office in Bhopal as soon as they won 13 of the bellwether seats, with a lead in at least 98 more.
Late Tuesday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conceded defeat in the Assembly elections of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and congratulated the Congress on their victory. He said the BJP accepted the people mandate with “humility”.
Madhya Pradesh went for single-phase polling on November 28. The tenure of the outgoing Assembly will conclude on January 7, 2019. In the 2013 poll, the BJP had won 165 seats, securing a comfortable majority in the Assembly, while confining the Congress to 58 seats.
BJP which has ruled MP for the past 15 years, currently trails with 15 victories, leads in 96 seats, and has very slim chances of making the 116 majority mark.
CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan is leading in Budhni with a margin of more than 33,000 votes. BJP’s Aakash Kailash Vijayvargiya (son of BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya) has won the Indore-3 constituency with a margin of around 7,000 votes. Senior BJP leader and state minister Yashodhara Raje Scindia is leading in Shivpuri with a margin of over 22,900 votes.
Around a dozen BJP ministers were trailing in their constituencies as per the latest trends. The change in voting patterns in Chhattisgarh has affected BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Scindia told News18.
Several of Congress’ candidates are leading with a very slim margin. Harsh Yadav is leading in Deori by just 4 votes, PC Sharma in Bhopal Dakshina-Pashchim constituency by 6 votes, Hemant Satyadev Katare in Ater with 442 votes and Anuragi Harprasad in Chandla with a margin of 133 votes, after the latest round of counting at 5:47 PM. Sumitra Devi Kasdekar is also leading in bellwether seat Nepanagar by 273 votes.
What happens next
Congress is likely to move Raj Bhavan and stake a claim to form the government, possibly with the help of a post-poll alliance with BSP whose 2 seats can give them the majority they need. It has already received support from a number of smaller political parties including the Gondvana Gantantra Party (GGP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) which were the first to confirm their support. BSP’s Madhya Pradesh unit was also reportedly open to extending support although the final decision will be taken by party supremo Mayawati after the results are declared. BSP leader Sudheendra Bhadauria, “We will not support BJP to form the government.”
Is the MP verdict going the Karnataka way?
Apart from them, 3 Independent candidates are also currently leading in their constituencies. Together, they will form 122 seats as soon as Congress chief Rahul Gandhi chooses the chief minister and they stake a claim.
The current situation is being likened to a prelude to the scramble for power that took place during the Karnataka Assembly polls earlier this year. Small parties and independents may play a crucial role in deciding who forms the next government in MP.
“The process of waiving off farm loans will start as soon as the government is formed,” Rahul Gandhi declared Tuesday night, saying, “When the PM was elected, he was elected on three platforms: employment, corruption and farmers… the people thought that the PM will really fight against corruption… now it is being questioned if the PM himself is corrupt,” the Congress chief told the press while addressing the imminent win. “We have defeated them today and we will defeat them in 2019,” Rahul Gandhi said at the press conference at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius
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