Betul lesson: MP assy poll route not easy for BJP, Cong

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Bhopal, Apr 16 (UNI) The result of the Betul Lok Sabha byelection, which took place just months ahead of Madhya Pradesh's assembly polls, indicated that the hustings would be no easy task for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and main opposition Congress.

The bypoll, which went in favour of saffron party candidate Hemant Khandelwal's favour today, was a prestige issue for both Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Industry Minister Kamalnath as the unsuccessful Congress nominee Sukhdev Panse is close to the latter.

However, compared to the previous election, the BJP's victory margin was slashed from 1.57 lakh to 35,440.

The BJP secured a lead in six of the eight assembly constituencies coming under Betul while it led in all eight last time. The Congress was particularly enthusiastic after winning the Khargone Lok Sabha bypoll about four months back.

Political observers said that Congress state President Suresh Pachouri, who recently assumed the post, would have to endeavour harder to strengthen the party organisation.

The Congress secured a lead of about 1,035 votes in Revenue Minister Kamal Patel's assembly constituency Harda, under Betul.

Samajwwadi Party candidate Sunilam, who represents Multai in the assembly, had to be content with just 21,000 votes and lost his deposit. He got merely 5,707 votes from Multai as compared to more than 36,000 in the vidhan sabha hustings.

Official statistics revealed that the BJP secured leads in Timarni, Multai, Bhainsdehi, Betul, Ghoradongri and Aamla assembly constituencies but suffered reverses in Harda and Masaud.

UNI PKJ-AC 2029

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