Indore: Bharatiya Janta Party, which lost three constituencies to Congress in Indore district, held polarisation of Muslim votes accountable for its loss. Indore assembly constituency-5 is an example. BJP candidate Mahendra Hardia was leading by around 10, 000 votes when EVM machines from Muslim-predominant Khajrana area were unlocked.
Congress candidate Satyanarayan Patel got about 20,000 votes from this constituency. With this, he took a lead of around 10,000 votes. After some more rounds of voting, Patel trailed again by nearly 15,000 votes. But when EVMs of Azad Nagar area, another Muslim dominated locality, were unlocked for counting, Hardia’s vote count fell drastically. He managed to save seat by merely 1,133 votes. In last polls, Hardia had won by more than 14,000 votes. “Congress played religion card in the election, which led to our defeat in Assembly elections this time,” claimed Manoj Patel, BJP candidate from Depalpur.
He suffered a defeat of more than 9000 votes at the hands of Congress candidate Vishal Patel. Manoj Patel said, “I lost election because Muslim voters did not support me.” He pointed that out of 25,000 Muslim votes in Depalpur constituency, he received only 2000 votes. “I accept that anti-incumbency hit my prospects but it is also a fact that Muslims did not support BJP not only in Depalpur but across the state,” Patel said. While BJP bagged eight out of nine seats in Indore district in last elections, it felt at a loss when it could not retain five seats where they had a strong hold.
BJP candidate Rajesh Sonkar who lost from Sanwer assembly constituency by margin of 2,942, cited similar reason. “Muslim factor worked for Congress this time, which is the reason that BJP lost this seat,” he said. He said Muslims voted for Congress, which changed the game. “BJP was leading with high number of votes till votes from Muslim areas were counted. Clearly, it turned out that Muslim voters did not vote for BJP,” Sonkar said. BJP alleged that Congress polarised the vote of Muslims by playing religion card and cited the video in which Nath is seen urging Muslims to increase their voting percentage or else Congress would suffer a big loss. The video had gone viral in the last week of November.