BHOPAL: Bhopal has been an age old bastion of the BJP. Highest vote share that Congress has been able to attract till date during Lok Sabha election was 3.69 lakh votes in 1999 when Suresh Pachauri contested for Bhopal seat. In 1999, Pachauri got 3.69 lakh votes out of 9,76,493 voter polled. This election when voter turnout stands at 14,06,435 from overall 21,41,179 voters and considering a close contest analyst are waiting with bated breath on win-loss margin.
In recent past, Congress had won Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency in 1984 when KN Pradhan defeated BJP’s Laxminarayan Sharma. Pradhan got 2,40,717 votes- 61.73% of total votes. 1984 Lok Sabha elections were held after Indira Gandhi’s assassination where Congress registered a historic win. Considering nail biting contest between Digvijaya Singh and Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, political pundits are recalling 2009 Lok Sabha election when Kailash Joshi of BJP had a close contest with Congress Surendra Singh Thakur. Congress’ Thakur had lost by 65,157 votes. This was the closest fight where defeat margin was in thousands.
Congress remained far behind in 2014 and 2004 where BJP candidates won by a margin of more than 3 lakh votes. In 2014 Alok Sanjar of BJP defeated Congress PC Sharma with a margin of 3,70,696 votes. In 2004, Kailash Joshi of BJP beat Sajid Ali of Congress with a margin of 3,06,005 votes. All other recent elections till date have a defeat margin of more than a lakh votes. Even Bhopal Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, who fought on Congress ticket in 1991 was defeated by a margin of 1,02,028 votes by BJP’s Sushil Chandra Verma. Considering the trend of last three Lok Sabha elections, the defeat margin of Congress remained more than 300,000 votes barring 2009 that witnessed a close contest with a defeat margin of 65,157 votes. Political analysts predict a similar result in 2019 as well-irrespective of who wins.