Congress decimated in Madhya Pradesh; Digvijaya, Scindia defeated

Digvijaya loses to BJP’s Pragya Thakur by over 3.23 lakh votes, accepts defeat

Congress decimated in Madhya Pradesh; Digvijaya, Scindia defeated BJP supporters celebrate their victory in Lok Sabha elections, in Kolkata, on Thursday | Salil Bera

The Congress party, in keeping with the trend across most of India, was decimated in Madhya Pradesh, managing to win just one out of 29 Lok Sabha seats.

The performance is worse compared to the 2014 polls, when the party could win two seats out of 29 (Chhindwara and Guna). The defeat comes as a shocker as just five months ago, the Congress had won the Assembly polls in the state, throwing out the BJP government of three-terms.

Chhindwara was the only seat retained as Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath could win with a slender margin of 37,536 votes. The chief minister himself won the assembly by-poll in Chhindwara by 25,734 votes.

Even stalwarts like ex-Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who had won in Guna overcoming the Modi wave in 2014, was defeated by his own one-time supporter K.P. Yadav of BJP by a margin of over 1.24 lakh votes.

Former chief minister and Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh faced a crushing defeat from the BJP’s controversial candidate, Pragya Thakur by a margin of over 3.23 lakh votes. Bhopal is considered as a BJP bastion and in 2014, the winning margin was 3.70 lakh, but given Digvijaya Singh’s stature, a tougher contest was expected.

Defeat accepted

Digvijaya Singh accepted his defeat with a brief comment in the evening. “I respect the people’s verdict and accept my defeat,” he told the media. His opponent Pragya Thakur expressed gratitude to the people of Bhopal for her victory and said that the dream of Narendra Modi had won.

Jyotiraditya Scindia said he accepted the people's verdict with due humility. "Politics is just a way for me to serve the people and I will remain committed to serve the people. I thank all voters and Congress workers. Congratulations to Dr K.P. Singh on his victory," the former Union minister tweeted.

Chief Minister Kamal Nath, issued a statement saying: “It is true that the results aren’t as expected, but we accept people’s verdict and respect it. We will review the defeat. In a democracy wins and losses continue. It seems we have not been able to reach our views to people properly. I extend best wishes to BJP and Modiji for the win. We will stand with the people always in all circumstances.”

BJP demands Kamal Nath's resignation

Meanwhile, BJP leaders took a dig at the Congress decimation, particularly targeting CM Kamal Nath. BJP state president Rakesh Singh, who won from Jabalpur constituency, demanded Nath’s resignation, saying that the Congress had lost people’s mandate.

Ex-CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan also said that the results on Thursday were a mandate against the Congress government in the state and people have understood difference between governments. The state and the entire country have confidence in the leadership of Narendra Modi, he said.

National general secretary of BJP Kailash Vijayvargiya launched a more direct attack on Kamal Nath. He tweeted saying that, “Nath had managed to hunt down two of his own associates”, indicating the losses of Digvijaya Singh and Scindia.

Former MP of Bhopal, Alok Sanjar also said that Kamal Nath had defeated Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal.