Assembly polls: Congress and BJP locked in a cliffhanger in MP

Updated: Dec 12, 2018, 12:23 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

The reverses for the BJP in the Hindi heartland threw wide open the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which until a few months ago appeared to be in the grip of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party

Congress workers display Rahul Gandhi's cutout as they celebrate the party's victory in the Assembly elections of three states, at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi, on Tuesday. Pic/PTI
Congress workers display Rahul Gandhi's cutout as they celebrate the party's victory in the Assembly elections of three states, at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi, on Tuesday. Pic/PTI

A resurgent Congress on Tuesday made significant gains in the Assembly elections, dealing a body blow to the BJP in Chattisgarh and Rajasthan and was locked in a cliffhanger in Madhya Pradesh.

The reverses for the BJP in the Hindi heartland threw wide open the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which until a few months ago appeared to be in the grip of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party.

"We have defeated the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh... There will be no issue over (selection of) chief minister. It will be done smoothly." Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the results were certainly not as expected. As voting trends and results slowly trickled, the Congress, which had just 58 seats in the outgoing Assembly in Madhya Pradesh, was set to cross the 100 mark in a House of 230.

The Congress was leading in 113 seats while for the BJP this was 110. According to Election Commission data, both the BJP and the Congress had around 41.2 per cent votes each. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was battling anti-incumbency, won the Budhni seat but a dozen ministers were trailing behind Congress candidates.

Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said the trends reflected people's desire for a change in MP while state Cong Chief Kamal Nath exuded confidence they will form government.

NOTA outperforms SP, AAP and NCP
The NOTA or none of the above option appeared to have outperformed several political parties, including the AAP and Samajwadi Party, which contested the Assembly polls in the five states. According to the Election Commission's website at 8 pm on Tuesday, the NOTA votes ranged from as high as 2.1 per cent in Chhattisgarh to 0.5 per cent in Mizoram.

The AAP, which fielded its candidates on 85 out of 90 seats in Chhattisgarh, got 0.9 per cent of votes while NOTA votes were 2.1 per cent of the counted votes in the state. Samajwadi Party and NCP got 0.2 per cent votes each in Chhattisgarh. The CPI got 0.3 per cent votes in the state. In MP, NOTA votes were 1.5 per cent of the total counted votes in the state. Samajwadi Party got 1.01 per cent while AAP got 0.7 per cent. The NOTA votes in Rajasthan elections were 1.3 per cent. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and SP got 1.2 per cent and 0.2 per cent votes.

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