Voting trend in Harda, Timarni to affect Betul LS bypoll

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Bhopal, Apr 15 (UNI) Voting trend in Harda and Timarni Assembly segments is likely to affect the results of the Lok Sabha byelection in Betul constituency tomorrow.

Political pundits opine that the Congress would be in a position to wrest the Betul seat from the BJP in the event of managing a lead of 15,000 to 20,000 votes from these Assembly segments.

Congress leaders claimed that 69 per cent voter turnout in Masaud assembly segment -- represented by Congress candidate Sukhdeo Panse in Vidhan Sabha -- proved that Mr Panse had succeeded in garnering support of electorate.

Political observers felt that anger of local residents against Harda legislator and state Revenue Minister Kamal Patel could become a deciding factor and affect poll prospects of the ruling BJP.

In this scenario, Mr Patel could not only lose his post but also be deprived of ticket for the upcoming Assembly polls.

The Congress raked up the issue of anger against Mr Patel during campaigning, whereas the BJP claimed that differences between Mr Patel and a particular community had been resolved. Mr Patel attributed the campaign by the Congress against him to political rivalry.

More than 61 per cent voter turnout from Multai Assembly constituency -- represented by SP candidate Dr Sunilam in the Vidhan Sabha -- indicated that the SP legislator could not be ignored.

Betul constituency comprises eight Assembly segments of which five are held by the BJP, two by the Congress and one by the SP.

The byelection was caused by the death of sitting BJP member Vijay Khandelwal.

Khandelwal's son Mr Hemant Khandelwal (BJP), Mr Sukhdeo Panse of the Congress, Samajwadi Party's Dr Sunilam, Gondwana Gantantra Party chief Hira Singh Markam and Samajwadi Jan Parishad Mangal Singh Lokhande were among the twelve candidates in the fray.

Seven independents include: Ashok, Udal Prasad, Prem Kumar, Bhag Charan, Manjit Singh, Mansaram and Rewaram.

(Eds: Pl pick suitably from earlier series) UNI PKJ-PS HS AS2217

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