Madhya Pradesh: Ahead of bypolls, BJP launches membership drive in Gwalior

With an eye on by-elections to 27 assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, especially in Gwalior-Chambal region of the state that accounts for 16 of these seats, the ruling BJP launched a three-day membership drive here on Saturday.

The drive began in the presence of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union minister Narendra Tomar, Congressman-turned-BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and state BJP president V D Sharma, the party said.

A statement issued by the BJP on Friday claimed that a large number of Congress workers from all 26 constituencies in the Gwalior-Chambal region are set to join the party.

During the drive, Chouhan, Scindia, Tomar and Sharma will hold talks with the party's public representatives and office-bearers of the region to draw a strategy for the bypolls, the dates of which are yet to be announced, it added.

Twenty-two rebel Congress MLAs in Madhya Pradesh, mostly from the Scindia camp, resigned in March, reducing the Kamal Nath-led dispensation to a minority and paving the way for the BJP to form the government in the state.

Scindia and these former MLAs joined the BJP.

The BJP then sent Scindia to Rajya Sabha, while many of his loyalists got important portfolios in Shivraj Singh Chouhan's cabinet.

Last month, three more Congress MLAs resigned and joined the saffron party, taking their number to 25, while two assembly seats had fallen vacant due to the demise of legislators.

The Congress now has 89 MLAs in the House, while the ruling BJP has 107. The effective strength of the 230-member House has come down to 203 due to the resignations and deaths of legislators.

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