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Uma failed to make dent in Chouhan's kitty

Written by: Staff

Bhopal, May 6 : Expelled BJP leader Uma Bharti, who lent support to the Gondwana Ganatantra Party (GGP) in the Budhni assembly bypoll, failed to make dent in the support base of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who was elected with a record margin, analysts say.

Mr Chouhan, who polled 66,689 votes in the May 3 byelection, defeated his nearest Congress rival Rajkumar Patel by a margin of 36,525. Since 1977, the previous highest winning margin in Budhni was over 22,000 when Mr Chouhan beat Mr Hari Singh (Cong) in 1990.

Even in 2003, the winning margin of Mr Rajendra Singh (BJP), who resigned from the Budhni seat in Mr Chouhan's favour, was about 10,000 only.

Before floating her outfit 'Bharatiya Janshakti' on April 30, Ms Bharti extended support to the GGP and campaigned in support of candidate Gulzar Singh Markam for a day. However, Mr Markam fared a poor third scoring only 7,900 votes. Samajwadi Party nominee Narmada Prasad Yadav could not cross even the three-figure mark.

In the 2003 Assembly poll, the Congress bagged 47,616 votes in Budhni. But this time, it could garner only 30,164.

Political analysts say the GGP actually dented Congress fortunes with Mr Markam cornering about 8,000 votes. Among 12 independents, only two could touch a four-digit score.

The Election Commission, which cracked the whip after finding gross violation of the model code of conduct, postponed the Budhni byelection from April 24 to May 3 and also removed the district returning officer and police superintendent. Following this, Mr Chouhan also undertook a 'padyatra' covering 160 km through the constituency as part of electioneering.


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