Kamal Nath Leads In Own Seat, But Sees Madhya Pradesh Slipping Away

Election Results: Mr Nath was leading Chhindwara after counting began at 8 am, began trailing for a brief period and is now leading again.

Kamal Nath Leads In Own Seat, But Sees Madhya Pradesh Slipping Away

The trends are indicating a sweep for the BJP in the state.

Bhopal:

For former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, counting day has been one of ups and downs as far as his constituency is concerned. The Congress state unit chief, who is contesting from Chhindwara, was leading since counting began at 8 am, began trailing for a brief period and is now leading again against Vivek Bunty Sahu of the BJP.

Even if he manages to win his seat, however, what will cause Mr Nath heartburn is that the BJP seems headed for a return to power in the state as per early trends.

Earlier on Sunday, a poster congratulating Mr Nath for becoming the next chief minister of Madhya Pradesh had been put up at the Congress office in Bhopal, and the leader remained confident of the party's victory in the state.

"I have not seen any trends... don't need to look till 11 am. I am very confident, I trust the voters..." he told news agency ANI shortly after counting of votes began.

The trends as of 11.30 am indicated a sweep for the BJP in the heartland state, where it has ruled since 2003, barring a 15-month period from 2018, when the Congress came to power. The government, led by Mr Nath, fell after a rebellion by senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia in 2020. Mr Scindia and more than 20 MLAs had joined the BJP, stripping the Congress-led government of its majority.

As per the trends, the BJP is leading in over 150 of the state's 230 seats while the Congress has a lead in just 72. The magic number needed for a majority is 116.

If the trends hold, the sweep in the state will be a stupendous achievement for the BJP and its chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was at the helm in the state from 2005 to 2018 and made a comeback in 2020. Beating anti-incumbency after so many years is also being seen as proof of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's enduring popularity. Mr Chouhan had not been declared the chief ministerial candidate in the state and the elections had been fought under the PM's leadership.

With seven MPs, including three Union ministers, contesting the state polls, speculation was rife that the BJP may be looking beyond Mr Chouhan for the state's top post this time, but experts say the sweep may make it difficult for the party to do so.

"I had said the BJP will get a comfortable majority and we are getting it," Mr Chouhan said on Sunday.

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