In Madhya Pradesh Bypolls, A Prestige Battle Ahead Of State Elections

Assembly bypolls to two seats in Madhya Pradesh is being seen as a prestige battle for Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia in a road show ahead of Kolaras bypoll on Thursday

Kolaras, Madhya Pradesh: Bypolls for two assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh are being seen as a prestige battle for two men -- Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan and Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress. Both have run a high-voltage campaign. While Mr Chouhan is pulling out all stops to win the two seats months before the assembly polls, Mr Scindia is keen that his party retains both the seats.

This battle is seen by many as a direct contest between Mr Chouhan and Mr Scindia. At Mungaoli, he emerged from his custom-made rath with a hydraulic lift, seeking votes for his party. His pitch - "give us five months, the government will deliver five years of work".

Lawmaker from Guna, Mr Scindia, has been campaigning hard for the Congress candidates to ensure the party wins both the seats that fall under his Lok Sabha constituency. Here, he the formal royal is often referred to as 'maharaj' or king. In every rally, he says, "It's not Congress versus BJP, it is a Scindia versus Shivraj battle".

Bypolls to Mungaoli and Kolaras constituencies are being held after the death of Congress lawmakers from these seats.

But Mr Chouhan seems in no mood to make this poll battle a personal one. "I am not here for a wrestling match; I am here to ask for votes." Mr Scindia counters, "where were you for five years?"


Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are due at the end of this year. The BJP has been is power for over a decade now and Mr Chouhan is toiling hard to counter anti-incumbency.

The chief minister has addressed over 40 rallies and done over 10 road shows for the bypolls. 18 cabinet ministers have accompanied him during the campaign. "Yes, they are ministers but they are party workers too," says Mr Chouhan.

Mr Scindia, who has addressed over 75 rallies and 15 road shows, says he is confident of a Congress victory in the bypolls and the assembly polls ahead. "Why wait for six months, I am saying let's have the assembly polls now."

Voting for the bypolls will be held on Saturday, the results will be declared on February 28.