BHOPAL: “I take full responsibility for the Nepanagar and Shahdol defeats”, said PCC president Arun Yadav after the announcement of the results of Shahdol Lok Sabha and Nepanagar Vidhan Sabh a bye-elections here on Tuesday, both of which were lost by the party. The Congress party was not able to match the poll management of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Although the Congress was having a better candidate in Shahdol, but it failed on the management front.
Top party leaders including Kamalnath, Digvijay Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Vivek Tankha and other had camped in Shahdol but they could not turn the tide in favour of the party. These leaders made only formal visits to the constituency. In contrast, the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan travelled to Shahdol more than 10 times in 20 days.
Eight ministers camped in the constituency, with each being made responsible one assembly segment. The overall responsibility was given to home minister Bhupendra Singh. The Congress did gain in terms of votes but it fell short of victory.
The BJP candidate Manju Dadu from Nepanagar has won the election with a huge lead of around 42,000 votes. Her father has won with a margin of around 46,000 votes.
The BJP candidate for Shahdol Gyan Singh has won the election with the margin of around 60,000 votes. In the general elections, the BJP candidate Dalpat Singh Pareste had won with a margin of 60,000 votes. This means that the Congress candidate garnered an additional two lakh votes. Congress failed to cash in on the popularity of its candidates because of improper election management.
Both the seats were reserved for tribals and the Congress party always claims that the tribals are the party’s traditional voters. Arun Yadav and Mohan Prakash camped in the constituency for long but could not make a dent in the BJP vote bank.
This was the first election in the state after demonetisation and but the voters, apparently, did not hold the BJP responsible for the demonetisation-related problems.
In Shahdol, booth management of the Congress party was also very poor, even the party failed to arrange booth agents. The party members were not able to distribute the voters slip. The party would have to introspect on the reasons for its defeat.