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Rude shock for Congress as BJP cruises towards massive win in Madhya Pradesh

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The BJP, which didn't name a CM candidate, despite its longest serving CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan heading the government, was leading in 162 seats, while the Congress was far behind, leading in 66 seats BHOPAL: It was the ruling BJP which had the last laugh in Madhya Pradesh with a thumping victory in the assembly elections, defying exit polls which had predicted a closer contest. Putting to rest all speculation about the Congress returning to power in Madhya Pradesh, three-and-a-half years after its government led by Kamal Nath was toppled, the BJP seems to be on course to possibly its third biggest victory in the state since the historic 173 seats it bagged in 2003. The saffron party which didn't name a CM candidate, despite its longest serving CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan heading the government in MP, was leading in 162 seats, while the Congress was far behind, leading in 66 seats, and the BSP and new entrant Bhartiya Adivasi Party led in a seat each. FOLLOW OUR LIVE COVERAGE OF THE RESULTS HERE While the ruling BJP has so far secured nearly 49% votes, the Congress is far behind with 40.30%. The game-changer CM Ladli Behna Scheme, the Kisan Samman Yojana, overwhelming support of female voters for CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the magic of PM Narendra Modi and winning strategy of Union home minister Amit Shah, besides the undercurrent of the grand opening of the Ram Temple in 2024, seems to have worked for the saffron party in the central Indian state. Just two days before the counting day, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan had said, "Koi Kante ki takkar nahi hai, kyonki Ladli Behnon nein saare kaante hata diye hain, Behne mujhe keh rahi hai, Bhaiya apan jeet rahe hain, ve BJP ki jeet mein apni jeet dekh rahi hain (There is no close fight, as the Ladli Behnas have removed all thorns from the passage for BJP's win. The Ladli Behnas are seeing their win in BJP's win)." That statement seems to have turned true now. A region wise break-up of the trends reveals that while the BJP has held on to its 2018 bright spot, the 30-seat Vindhya region, where it's leading in 24 seats (the same number of seats won by it in the 2018 polls), it seems to be virtually wiping out the Congress in the saffron stronghold of central MP, which is the CM's home region, leading in 33 seats, while the Congress is confined to leads in just three seats. In the 2018 polls, the BJP had won 23 seats and Congress ended up with 13 seats in the same region. In the tribal-dominated 38-seat Mahakoshal region (which also houses state Congress chief Kamal Nath’s home turf), the BJP has made significant inroads, currently leading in 22 seats against the Congress’s 16 seats. This is in stark contrast to the 2018 polls, when the Congress had won 24 seats in the same region. In the 34-seat Gwalior-Chambal region, the home turf of Union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia, Narendra Singh Tomar, state home minister Narottam Mishra and state BJP vice president VD Sharma, the BJP is leading in 13 seats, while the Congress continues to lead in 19 seats and BSP in two seats. In the 2018 polls, while Jyotiraditya Scindia was in the Congress, the Congress had swept the region winning 26 seats, leaving just seven seats for the BJP. In the Malwa-Nimar region, which houses the maximum 66 seats and has for decades been the nucleus of the BJP and RSS, the saffron party seems to be leaving behind its dismal show in the 2018 polls, when it could win 29 seats against the Congress’s 34. Currently, BJP candidates are leading in 47 seats, while the Congress is ahead in 18 seats only. In the Bundelkhand region (where poll pundits were expecting the Congress to put up a remarkable performance), the BJP is leading in 21 seats, while the Congress is ahead in only five seats. Both current CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and former CM Kamal Nath are leading. While Shivraj Singh Chouhan is reportedly leading by a massive margin of 71,655 votes from pocket-borough Budhni in Sehore district, Kamal Nath is leading by a smaller margin of 20,000-odd votes from his bastion Chhindwara. He had won the same seat in the 2019 by-election by 25000-plus votes. Many ministers of the current Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, including home minister Narottam Mishra, medical education minister Vishvas Sarang, higher education minister Dr Mohan Yadav, cooperatives ministers Arvind Bhadoria, MSME minister OP Saklecha, animal husbandry minister Prem Patel, mining minister Brijendra Pratap Singh and Mina Singh (all cabinet ministers), revenue and transport minister Govind Singh Rajput, industries and investment promotion minister Rajvardhan Singh Dattigaon and minister of state – Brajendra Singh Yadav and Suresh Rathkheda Dhakad (all four being Jyotiraditya Scindia-loyalists), are reportedly trailing. The prominent Congress leaders trailing from their seats include current Leader of Opposition and seventh time MLA Dr Govind Singh, ex-CM Digvijaya Singh’s brother Laxman Singh, many ministers of erstwhile Kamal Nath government, including Jitu Patwari, Sajjan Singh Verma, Dr Vijaylaxmi Sadho, Bala Bachchan, Harsh Yadav, Tarun Bhanot and Lakhan Singh Yadav, besides ex-Vidhan Sabha speaker NP Prajapati are trailing. Among the eight heavyweights fielded by the BJP, while Union ministers Prahlad Singh Patel (Narsinghpur) and Narendra Singh Tomar (Dimani), party national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya (Indore-1), MPs Riti Pathak (Sidhi), Ganesh Singh (Satna), Udai Pratap Singh (Gadarwara) and Rakesh Singh (Jabalpur West) are leading, Union minister Faggan Singh Kulaste is trailing from Niwas-ST seat of Mandla district. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

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