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20 Apr 2019, Edition - 1376, Saturday

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In Madhya Pradesh, Numbers See-Saw Between BJP, Congress


NEW DELHI: The ruling BJP and the Congress are caught in a close fight in Madhya Pradesh, where Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is seeking a record fourth term, as votes were counted on Tuesday. The numbers have see-sawed between the two parties.

“Let the results come in. We are very confident. We are heading for a full majority, no doubt about it,” said Congress leader Kamal Nath, who was in charge of the party’s campaign in the state.

He told NDTV: “We have won lock, stock and barrel.”

But Kamal Nath is in touch with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), who is believed to have called her party leaders for a meeting in Delhi.

“We knew it was going to be close because of some announcements that the Congress made in the last week of the election. Those seem to have gained traction,” said senior BJP leader Yashodhara Raje Scindia.

In 2013 elections, the BJP had won 165 of the 230 seats, followed by the Congress at 58 and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) at 4.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi both campaigned in the state, exchanging acrimonious attacks.

For the Congress, a victory in the state would set the stage for a leadership battle between its top 3 in the state – Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijaya Singh.

So far, the party has been silent on the subject. As the results came in, Mr Scindia drove to Kamal Nath’s house and the leaders arrived together at the party office in Bhopal.

Jammu and Kashmir politician Omar Abdullah summed up the situation in the state with his tweet. “‘Others’ in Madhya Pradesh will be a happy lot at the moment,” he posted.

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