BJP-Cong to lock horns in Damoh by-poll, voting on April 17

With the date for the by-election for the Damoh Assembly constituency in Madhya Pradesh being announced, the BJP has declared its candidate while the Congress is yet to decide on its party nominee. This election holds significance in the context of the politics in the state.

The Election Commission has released the poll programme for the by-elections in other states of the country which also includes the Damoh Assembly constituency of Madhya Pradesh. The voting would take place on April 17 and the results would be declared on May 2. The Model Code of Conduct has come into force here with the announcement of the poll dates.

This election is considered to be important for both the ruling party BJP and the opposition Congress. This is because former Congress MLA, Rahul Lodhi, recently joined the BJP. The BJP has also fielded Lodhi as its poll candidate, while the Congress is still looking for an ideal candidate.

According to political expert Santosh Gautam, “While this election will be an interesting contest, the prestige of many other leaders would be at stake. The challenge for the BJP is that how much its major leader Jayant Malaiya, who lost the 2018 state Assembly elections to Rahul Lodhi, lends support to him. Jayant Malaiya has a strong presence in this region which cannot be disregarded. On the other hand, a lot will also depend upon the Congress candidate. If the Congress fields a leader with an uncompromising and clean image, it will make the political contest more potent.”

The BJP is taking this election quite seriously which is why medical colleges and many other development projects have been earmarked for Damoh in the recent days.

The BJP also knows that if Malaiya does not support them, then they will have to work harder but with his support, the party can win easily. On the other hand, the Congress is assuming that this election is going to give it a lease of life, so it is thinking about fielding a better candidate.

Damoh is situated in Bundelkhand with many BJP veterans who are in active politics coming from this region. These include Union Minister Prahlad Patel, Madhya Pradesh unit President Vishnu Datt Sharma, State ministers Gopal Bhargava, Bhupendra Singh, Govind Singh Rajput and Brijendra Pratap Singh.

The Congress does not have any big political leader from this region. Those leaders who once used to be identified with the Congress like Satyavrat Chaturvedi, Mukesh Nayak, Raja Pateriya are being left out by the grand old party.

Looking at the history of this Assembly seat, out of 15 Assembly elections held so far, Jayant Malaiya of BJP has won six times. The Congress candidates have won seven times and Independent candidates have won twice. This scenario shows that this seat is not a stronghold of any one party in particular.