Bhopal, Jun 30: BJP today retained Garoth Assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district albeit with a reduced margin than in the 2013 Assembly polls.
The Congress, however, termed BJP's win with a lower margin than earlier as a "moral defeat" for the ruling party. The by-election at the seat was necessitated due to the death of BJP MLA Rajesh Yadav following illness.
BJP candidate Chander Singh Sisodia won the bypoll by defeating Congress' Subhash Kumar Sojatia with a margin of 12,945 votes, an election officer said. Sisodia got 81,449 votes while Sojatia bagged 68,504 votes, he said.
The BJP had won the seat in the 2013 Assembly polls with a margin of 25,755 votes. A total of 1,55,934 voters exercised their franchise in the bypoll, with 1,924 voting in favour of NOTA (None of the Above).
In 2013, 1,63,892 votes were polled at the seat. Eight candidates were in fray for the by-poll, but the main contest was between BJP's Sisodia and Congress nominee Sojatia.
State Congress unit's chief spokesperson K K Mishra termed the BJP's victory with a reduced margin in the bypoll as the ruling party's "moral defeat."
Alleging that BJP won the bypoll by misusing official machinery in a big way, he said that it is not the victory of BJP, but of its "dishonesty."
However, Madhya Pradesh's BJP unit spokesman Vishwas Sarang said it was a victory of the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
People have again expressed their faith in their governance, Sarang said, adding that the victory margin was "comfortable".
State BJP's media in-charge Dr Hitesh Vajpayee also described the party's success in Garoth as the victory of Chouhan and his government and the party's policies.