MP Election Results 2023: Kamal Nath led the Congress to a surprise win in Madhya Pradesh in 2018 (File).
Congress leader Kamal Nath on Sunday morning declared himself "very confident" that his party would win the 2023 Madhya Pradesh Assembly election. Speaking to news agency ANI, shortly after counting of votes began with postal ballots, the former Chief Minister said, "I have not seen any trends... don't need to look till 11 am. I am very confident, I trust the voters..."
Shortly before votes were counted, there was even a poster congratulating Kamal Nath on becoming Chief Minister. The poster - "Congratulations to honourable Kamal Nath for becoming Chief Minister" - was seen outside the Congress' office.
READ | Kamal Nath Leads Own Seat, But Sees Madhya Pradesh Slipping Away
It is now evident the confidence was grossly misplaced. The BJP has recorded a dominant win.
At 2.30 pm the BJP was leading in 165 seats - more than double the Congress' 63. These numbers represent a gain of 56 seats for the BJP and a loss of 51 for the Congress, relative to the 2018 results.
READ | BJP Keeps Madhya Pradesh Despite Odds, Big Congress Disappointment
In his individual race, though, Kamal Nath was leading from his family bastion of Chhindwara.
READ | "Congratulations": Poster Hails Kamal Nath As Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister
On Thursday too Kamal Nath had played down the exit polls.
In a post on X, he said, "I want to remind all Congress workers of their strength... it is because of your hard work and dedication the public has voted overwhelmingly in support of the Congress Party. When the counting of votes begins on December 3, the public will put a stamp on the Congress government."
READ | "Country Runs By Vision, Not Television": Kamal Nath After Exit Polls
However, Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan remained confident the BJP would return to power and form the state government for a fifth time. This morning, as early trends emerged, he repeated his claim.
"... I am confident that with the blessings of the people and the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP will form government again with a full majority," Mr Chouhan said on X.
READ | Full Majority In Madhya Pradesh With PM's Blessing: Shivraj Chouhan
The BJP has dominated Madhya Pradesh 2003; the party has won three of the past four polls, with the blip being the Congress' 2018 win that was orchestrated by Kamal Nath.
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