15 Jun 2024

MP: BJP Confronts Challenge of Penetrating Amarwara Stronghold in Assembly By-Elections, Can Kamal Nath Achieve Consolation Victory?

During the 2023 assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP won 163 seats in the state, achieving a significant victory. However, in Chhindwara district, the Congress candidates emerged victorious on all seats, indicating a strong presence for the Congress in that area. 

Despite the overall success of the BJP in the state, Chhindwara remained a stronghold for the Congress, particularly with Kamal Nath's influence. Interestingly, during the Lok Sabha elections, there was a notable shift in the district's political landscape as MLA Kamlesh Pratap Singh, previously aligned with Kamal Nath, switched sides to join the BJP and resigned from the Legislative Assembly.

Congress will be competing here with diminished morale

With the announcement of the by-election for the vacant seat in this district, the BJP is now presented with the task of penetrating this stronghold. Conversely, following the significant loss on all 29 seats in the state during the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress will be competing here with diminished morale. 

It will be a consolation win for Kamal Nath

This by-election has evolved into a matter of pride for both parties. Interestingly, it is not just the Congress but also the reputation of Kamal Nath that is at stake in this contest. If Congress wins Amarwara seat it will be a consolation win for Congress veteran Kamal Nath who lost his traditional Chhindwara Lok Sabha seat.

In the Lok Sabha elections Kamal Nath's son, Nakul Nath, contested as a Congress candidate on the prestigious Chhindwara parliamentary constituency. However, he faced defeat from the BJP candidate, Bunty Sahu, by a significant margin of over one lakh votes. 

This outcome was not only disheartening for the Congress but also for former Chief Minister Kamal Nath. It was unexpected that towards the end of his political career, his influence in the Chhindwara parliamentary constituency would wane to the extent that he couldn't secure a victory for his own son to succeed him.

BJP strategy in LS polls

In the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP implemented a strategic plan to challenge the Congress in this region. They successfully convinced Kamal Nath's close aide, Deepak Saxena, to switch allegiance from the Congress to the BJP. 

Additionally, they attempted to attract the Chhindwara mayor to their party, although his loyalty seemed uncertain as he vacillated between the two parties. Ultimately, he retracted his decision and urged support for the Congress candidate. The BJP handled the situation involving Amarwara MLA Kamlesh Pratap Singh without error. Following Shah's departure, only 6 out of the 7 seats in Chhindwara remained with the Congress, necessitating a by-election in the area.

Kamlesh Pratap Singh was Cong candidate in previous election

The person who ran as a Congress candidate in the previous assembly elections for the Amarwara assembly constituency will now be running as a BJP candidate. Kamlesh Pratap Singh will be the BJP's candidate in this constituency. His requirement for joining the BJP was to receive an opportunity to contest in the assembly elections. 

Monica Batti didn't get ticket

Given the circumstances, Monica Manmohan Shah Batti, who was the BJP candidate in the 2023 assembly elections, did not get BJP ticket this time. Monica had previously joined the BJP before the assembly elections, and her father, Manmohan Shah Batti, was a prominent figure in the Gondwana Gantantra Party. 

The GGP holds considerable influence in the Amarwara assembly constituency, as evidenced by the fact that in the last assembly elections, GGP candidate Deviram Bhalavi secured the third position with 18,131 votes in a field of 9 candidates. Monica from the BJP was defeated by the Congress candidate Shah by a margin of 25,086 votes, with 5,003 votes going to NOTA.

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