The Assembly bye-elections for 28 seats in Madhya Pradesh will not be a direct fight between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the principal opposition Congress. Instead it may well be a triangular contest with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) deciding to field its candidates for all 28 seats.
Team Absolute|Bhopal Voting for the bypolls is scheduled for November 3 across the 28 constituencies in the state and the results will be declared on November 10. The Congress has announced its candidates while the BJP is yet to officially announce its list of party candidates. The Mayawati led-BSP has released two lists comprising 18 party candidates. Of the 28 constituencies going for bypolls in the state, 16 seats are reserved in Gwalior-Chambal region. This is the region where the BSP has its own vote bank. There are nine Assembly seats in this region where BSP candidates have earlier won elections. These include Mehgaon, Karaira, Jaura, Sumavali, Morena, Dimani, Ambah, Bhander and Ashok Nagar. In the last Assembly elections, too, the BSP bagged a lot of votes from these regions. The politics of this region can be gauged from the violence which erupted in 2018 due to reservation. The state comprises nearly 16 per cent Scheduled Castes (SC) population and most of it belongs to the Gwalior- Chambal region. This is why the region is considered as a stronghold of the BSP. Though the BSP has never shown any interest in contesting bypolls earlier but this time around it is all set to contest with full strength. The reason is the Congress wants to dent the chances of BSP. Among the names of candidates the Congress has announced so far, many of them had earlier contested as BSP candidates. Among them are leaders such as Phool Singh Baraiya, Satyaprakash Sankhwar, Pragi Lal Jatav and Ravind Tomar. The backward class feels disillusioned with both BJP and Congress considering that the two parties failed to pay heed to their concerns. Political analyst Dev Shrimali believes that one-third of the seats in the Gwalior-Chambal region would be a triangular fight between BJP, Congress and the BSP. The triangular contest factors in caste and organisational potential of the candidate concerned. Though BSP’s strength in the region has steadily declined according to data collected from the last two Assembly elections, the party is still a force to reckon with in certain parts of MP.