Bhopal, The Bharatiya Janata Party’s defeat in Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh Assembly by-election has created quite a political stir. The party is not only introspecting the reasons but the party’s own leaders are under the scanner for the defeat.
The Congress had won from Damoh in the Assembly elections held in 2018 and Rahul Lodhi was elected. He had defeated BJP candidate Jayant Malaiya, who had won from there for six consecutive terms.
After quitting the Congress, Rahul Lodhi recently joined the BJP and during the 2021 Damoh by-poll, he contested the election on the saffron party’s ticket against Congress candidate Ajay Tandon who defeated him by over 17,000 votes.
The party organisation and the BJP government had put in huge efforts despite which Lodhi lost.
Former minister Jayant Malaiya was a major contender for the BJP ticket from Damoh Assembly constituency. Malaiya initially expressed displeasure over Rahul Lodhi being nominated as the BJP candidate but the party managed to placate him and he was actively involved in the poll campaign.
Union Minister Prahlad Patel’s statement in which he allegedly referred to the Ramayana did not go down well with a particular community.
The party’s state organisation was fully aware that there was a lot of resentment against Rahul Lodhi in the Damoh assembly constituency. This was the reason that the party’s state unit President, Vishnu Datt Sharma, and several officials of the organisation camped in Damoh. For a fortnight Sharma and other leaders held separate meetings with various people. The public openly expressed their anger against Rahul Lodhi.
People said that they are not angry with the BJP but want to teach a lesson to Lodhi. Despite this Vishnu Datt Sharma tried to convince the people to support the party due to which some people agreed to lend their support but a large number of people refused to support the BJP.
After the announcement of the election results, Rahul Lodhi had openly accused former minister Jayant Malaiya and other party leaders and said the elections were lost due to their treachery. His potshots were directly aimed at Jayant Malaiya.
State Home Minister Narottam Mishra also blamed party leaders for the poll defeat and said, “We have not lost Damoh Assembly seat but instead we have been deceived by deceitful people. This time we have lost the polls due to ‘Jaichands’ (traitors) in our party. The Congress should not be too happy over the Damoh victory. (Former CM) Kamal Nath should introspect upon how the Congress has been eliminated from the entire country.”
Speaking on the defeat in Damoh, Vishnu Datt Sharma said, “We accept people’s verdict in the Damoh by-election. Congratulations to Congress candidate Ajay Tandon. Our party workers worked tirelessly at the booth level during the Damoh by-election. I thank them for their contribution. We must not get discouraged with the poll results but move forward with a resolve to further strengthen the organisation. Also we will sit down with the local party workers of Damoh and review the reasons for the failure in depth.”
Asked about the Congress’ win in Damoh, former Chief Minister Kamal Nath said the victory was ultimately of truth. The public has taught the BJP a lesson with this poll result, Nath added.
Political analysts believe that the rejection of the BJP’s candidate in Damoh is a lesson for parties that they cannot win elections by making anyone they want the candidate.
Several controversial statements and ‘treachery’ by many BJP leaders also paved the way for the saffron party’s defeat. In Damoh, it is not the BJP but Rahul Lodhi who has been defeated while Congress candidate Ajay Tandon has won and not the grand old party, said analysts.