Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath
Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath

BHOPAL: After the span of 17 years the Congress with its 96 legislators is all set to play a role of strong opposition in the state assembly. The winter session of the State Assembly will begin from December 21.

Congress has been occupying the opposition benches from 2003 to 2018 in the House. In the last three Assembly elections, Congress scored 41 (in 2003), 71 (in 2008) and 57 (in 2013) seats. The party strength had been low in the Assembly during all these years and it failed to show their ‘opposition power’ to the government. The impressive performance in the by- elections to 28 seats has again brought the BJP on the driving seat with the 126 MLAs, however,  the position of Congress as an opposition has also gained strength.

Congress with its 96 MLAs will play a role of a strong opposition raising voice on public issues inside the Assembly and outside. Congress, after over 17 years, is now in position to attack the government strongly and make things uncomfortable for them in the House. While the opposition Congress would leave no stone unturned to corner ruling BJP, they would also try bringing to their side seven independent and other parties MLAs –who are supporting the government- while raising public issues.

In the 2018 Assembly elections, the Congress got an opportunity to sit on treasury benches after over 15 years, but it could not sustain its position for more than 15 months. The government collapsed and BJP returned to power this March. In the elections, of the 230 seats, Congress managed to win 114, BJP 107, while four independents, two BSP and one SP candidate also made it to the Assembly.

In the year 2003, BJP uprooted Digvijay Singh-led Congress government, scoring 165 in the elections. The Congress was limited to just 41 seats. In the 2008 elections, Congress improved its tally to 71, however, with 143 seats BJP managed to remain in power. The ruling BJP besides anti-incumbency, had also to face the revolt of the former chief minister Uma Bharti, who had constituted a new outfit- Bhartiya Janshakti Party. The party had won five seats in the elections. In the polls, the Congress vote share was just 1 per cent less than the BJP then.

In the 2013 Assembly elections, BJP bounced back and inflicted massive defeat on Congress and limited it to 57 seats. The BJP with 165 MLAs, occupied the treasury benches for the third time in a row.

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