Even as BJP looked set for a landslide victory in Madhya Pradesh – leading or having won on 165 seats out of 230 – big names of both the winner and the loser party Congress fell in the process.
The BJP looks to equal or surpass the 2013 seat tally of 165 seats, when it had achieved a big victory riding on the double impact of the Laadli Laxmi scheme launched in 2007 and Teerthdarshan scheme (pilgrimage for elderly citizens) in 2012.
However, among the biggest names from the winning BJP to receive a setback on Sunday was union minister Faggan Singh Kulaste who lost to Congress’s Chainsingh Warkhade by 9,723 votes in Niwas seat in Mandla district.
Also, about a dozen ministers of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet either lost or were trailing at the time of filing of this report. Animal husbandry minister Premsingh Patel lost to Rajan Mandloi of Congress by 11, 172 votes.
Big names among those trailing include home minister Narottam Mishra from Datia, Govind Singh Rajput from Surkhi, Mahendra Singh Sisodia from Bamori, Arvind Singh Bhadoria from Ater, Kamal Patel from Harda, Gaurishankar Bisen from Balaghat and Rajvardhan Singh Dattigaon from Badnawar seat.
Ministers Rahul Lodhi (Khargapur), Ramkhelawan Patel (Amarpatan) and Suresh Dhakad (Pohri) were also trailing.
Other big BJP names who were trailing were national chairman of the BJP SC Morcha, Lal Singh Arya and former minister and Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalist Imarti Devi.
The senior leaders put into fray by BJP fared well with union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Prahlad Patel, national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and members of parliament Rao Uday Pratap Singh, Ganesh Singh, Riti Pathak all leading and MP Rakesh Singh winning in Jabalpur West.
Expectedly, many prominent leaders lost or were trailing in what is seen as unexpectedly poor performance by the opposition Congress party. Leader of opposition Govind Singh was trailing in his bastion Lahar, which he represented eight consecutive times since 1990. Singh was trailing by 11,016 votes at time of filing of this report and was expected to lose.
Young gun of the party and former minister Jitu Patwari – who was considered a strong second rung leader close to Rahul Gandhi – was trailing by over 35,000 votes at the end of final round and was as good as lost though the official declaration of result was yet to come.
Others who were trailing include Laxman Singh (Digvijaya Singh’s brother) in Chachaura, Deepak Joshi in Khategaon, ex-ministers Sajjan Singh Verma (Sonkutch), Tarun Bhanot (Jabalpur west), Vijaylaxmi Sadho (Maheshwar), ex-assembly speaker N.P. Prajapati was relegated to third position in Gotegaon. Prominent names including Kunal Choudhary and Sanjay Shukla were also losing.