MP Mayoral Polls: Congress, AAP all smiles

BJP says it has won 80% of the wards in three-tier polls across the state
MP Mayoral Polls: Congress, AAP all smiles
Amit Bishnoi

Bhopal: The results of Madhya Pradesh’s Mayoral polls are out. The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are all smiles. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders are sitting with lines of worry on their face, though they have won nine municipal corporations out of 16 in the state.

Nonetheless, the Congress has been without a win in the municipal corporations since 2015. Ergo the BJP looks anxious, though publicly they are celebrating their victory in nine municipal corporations, saying they are ahead of the Congress. They have lost seven seats: five to the Congress, one to the AAP and one to an independent candidate.

Another reason for their angst is the rise of the AAP as well as for the party’s big loss in the Gwalior-Chambal region. Two important leaders of the BJP who are also Union ministers – Narendra Singh Tomar and Jyotiraditya Scindia – come from this region. The Congress’s victory in Gwalior was very significant, as the party won the mayoral seat after 57 years. Thus, the Congress has every reason to be happy about its performance in the civic elections.

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Gwalior is Scindia’s hometown and Morena is the Lok Sabha constituency of Tomar, besides state’s home minister Narottam Mishra comes from this region. In 2020, when Scindia together with 22 legislators made a flight to the BJP, toppling the one-and-a-half-year-old Kamal Nath-led Congress government, the BJP leaders said that the Gwalior-Chambal region would be Congress-free. After Scindia’s exit from the Congress, there was actually no leader of the party to represent the area.

This is the reason that after the party’s win mayoral posts in Morena and Chambal, Congress’s media cell head KK Mishra said that after Scindia’s flight to BJP, the region had been BJP-free. Although the ruling party had misused government machinery, it failed to carry the day, but the Congress won the people’s mandate because of former chief minister Kamal Nath’s strategy, he said.  State BJP general secretary Rajneesh Agarwal, however, put up a brave face saying that the party may have lost the municipal corporations, but has won a majority of the municipalities and town councils in the state.

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Nevertheless, the most significant event in the civic polls is the AAP’s win in Singrauli where the party bagged the mayoral post as well as five wards. Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal had addressed a rally before the civic polls and announced free electricity and water. Aside from five wards in Singrauli, the APP candidates have won 12 wards in different parts of the state. The AAP’s win in the civic elections may disturb political equations in the coming days, because the electoral fight in Madhya Pradesh has always been between the Congress and the BJP. Aside from the AAP, the candidates of All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have won a few wards.

Therefore, with the emergence of the AAP and with the Congress bagging five municipal corporations, the assembly elections to be held next year will be interesting, say political observers of the state.