Despite defeat, Congress vote share goes up in Bhopal

Digvijay Singh
Ex-MP CM Digvijaya

Bhopal, May 24 Bhopal Lok Sabha seat continues to be in focus even after the election process is over. The humiliating defeat of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh (Congress) at the hands of political rookie Sadhvi Pragya Thakur (BJP) is a case study for those assessing the voting pattern in the constituency’s assembly segments.

Thakur got 61.52 per cent votes, 25.84 percentage points over Digvijaya Singh. She set the lead from the first round of counting and sustained it for all 26 rounds, except the third and fourth. Digvijaya Singh’s gains were only from Bhopal Central and North segments.

Though his votes did not match the crowd seen during the campaign, Digvijaya Singh still managed to garner more than 5.2 per cent more than P.C. Sharma who contested the seat in 2014.

Sharma, now a minister in the Kamal Nath cabinet, was managing Digvijaya Singh’s campaign. The Congress suffered a dent of 39,355 votes in his segment since the asembly elections.

The other segments represented by Arif Aqueel and Arif Masood suffered a drop of over 16,000 votes. Digvijaya Singh did gain marginally in the assembly segment of BJP’s former state minister Vishwas Sarang. The other BJP candidates added nearly 20,000 votes to their party kitty.

Thakur, who secured 8.65 lakh votes to register a massive win by over 3.62 lakh votes, polled nearly two per cent less votes than Alok Sanjar, her party’s outgoing MP.

The three segments represented by the Congress MLAs who improved the party’s tally during the recent assembly elections failed to keep the tempo during the Lok Sabha poll. The five BJP legislators on the other hand all ensured a higher voting in Thakur’s favour.

Some BJP supporters had raised slogans in favour of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse – whom Thakur had termed a “patriot”, when she arrived at one of the polling booths. They were countered by pro-Mahatma Gandhi slogans.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had said he would never be able to forgive Thakur for her comment on Godse, will now confront her in the Parliament. The question is whether the party which has served all three Godse supporters with show cause notices will taken any action now that all of them have won their elections.

Digvijaya Singh lamented that the ideology of the killers of Mahatma Gandhi was preferred over that love, peace, truth and non-violence promoted by the father of the nation. He said while he respected the people’s verdict, it was sad that though the BJP has won these polls, it never talked about what it had done for fulfilling the promises made by the party in 2014.

“The BJP won by diverting the entire election campaign on the false perception of the threat to the country’s security and not on any developmental planks,” he said.

Thakur, on the other hand, addressed the press to say that the people had proved that there was nothing like “Hindu terrorism” as the Congress was publicising.

Interestingly, Chief Minister Kamal Nath had warned his ministers to ensure the party candidates’ victory in their respective segments, failing which they should be prepared to quit. This, by implication, means Kamal Nath would be the sole minister to survive!

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