Bhopal, Nov 20: Retaining the Ratlam-Jhabua Lok Sabha and Dewas Assembly seats in the bye-elections to be held tomorrow will be crucial for BJP after its humiliating defeat in Bihar polls, even as the Congress is leaving no stone unturned to give the saffron party a tough fight.
BJP, relying more on 'sympathy wave', has fielded Petlawad MLA Nirmala Bhuria, daughter of Dileep Singh Bhuria whose death necessitated the bye-election to Ratlam seat.
In Dewas Assembly seat, the party has given ticket to Gayatri Raje Puar, the widow of erstwhile ruler of Dewas Tukoji Rao Puar, the sitting BJP MLA who died in June.
On the other side, the Congress has put up a united face and is banking on former Union minister Kantilal Bhuria to reclaim the Ratlam seat from BJP, and young leader Jaiprakash Shastri in Dewas.
The bypolls will be held tomorrow while the counting will take place on November 24. The drubbing in the recent Bihar Assembly elections, and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's quota review remarks appeared to have made BJP jittery, forcing Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to strongly contend that till the time he is there, there will be no end to reservation.
"As long as Narendra Modi is Prime Minister and I am Chief Minister, no one ('koi mai ka laal') can end reservation," Chouhan recently said while addressing meetings at Bori and Baledi villages while campaigning for the party candidates in the bypolls.
Chouhan said the Congress has distorted the statement of RSS chief over reservation and is playing politics over it.
Sensing an opportunity in the bypoll, the otherwise divided Congress party in the state has tried to project unity with all senior leaders, including General Secretary Digvijay Singh, former Union minister Kamal Nath and party's chief whip in the Lok Sabha Jyotiraditya Scindia and state unit chief Arun Yadav campaigning vigorously for Kantilal Bhuria.