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MP and Odisha bypolls 2018 results: Congress retains both seats in MP, BJP draws blank

By Chennabasaveshwar

The Congress on Wednesday won the Mungaoli and Kolaras Assembly seat in a bypoll in Madhya Pradesh while it lost to the BJD the lone constituency in Odisha where bypolls were held this month.

Congress wins Mungaoli seat, ahead in Kolaras

Brajendra Singh Yadav of the Congress defeated his BJP rival Baisahab Yadav by a margin of 2,124 votes to win the Mungaoli seat while in Kolaras, Congress candidate Mahendra Singh Yadav prevailed over Devendra Jain of the BJP by 8,083 votes.

Brajendra Yadav got 70,808 votes while Baisahab Yadav bagged 68,684, a poll official said. In Kolaras, Mahendra Yadav polled 82,515 votes and Jain 74,432 ballots, the official said. The by-elections of February 24 were necessitated by the deaths of sitting Congress MLAs.

In Odisha, ruling Biju Janata Dal wrested the Bijepur assembly seat from the Congress with its candidate Rita Sahu defeating her nearest rival, Ashok Panigrahi of the BJP, by 41,933 votes.

Patnaik said, " I would like to express my deep gratitude to the people of Bijepur Assembly constituency for having showered their blessings on BJD."

Counting for two key assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha's Bijepur assembly seat has begun. The bypoll held on February 24 recorded 77.05 per cent and 70.40 percent voting turnout recorded in Mungaoli and Kolaras respectively. In Odisha's Bijepur , 72 per cent polling was recorded till 5pm.

The by-elections in Madhya Pradesh are seen as providing an opportunity to gauge the mood of the state that will go for assembly elections this year. Both seats are currently held by the Congress. The Congress has fielded Mahendra Singh Yadav from Kolaras and Brijendra Singh Yadav from Mungaoli, while the BJP has fielded Baisahab Yadav from Mungaoli and Devendra Jain from Kolaras.

Both the BJP and Congress are confident of the victory on the two seats, that fall under Guna Lok Sabha constituency, the pocket-borough of Congress stalwart Jyotiraditya Scindia.

The bypolls were necessitated due to the death of sitting Congress MLAs Mahendra Singh Kalukheda (Mungaoli) and Ram Singh Yadav (Kolaras). For Scindia, retaining both the seats in his home turf is a battle of prestige as he is positioning himself as the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress. Aware of the high stakes involved, the Gwalior royal had onstantly toured these two seats in a bid to ward off the saffron challenge.

In Odisha, district of Bargarh has seen more union ministers, parliamentarians, MLAs, film stars, politicians than any poll in Odisha might have ever witnessed. Odisha's two union ministers, Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram had led BJP's campaign in the district. Also, Smriti Irani had addressed three rallies.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had spent a night in the constituency during his hectic two-day schedule of rallies. This is the last bypoll in the state before the 2019 general elections.

The by-poll was necessitated due to death of Congress MLA Subal Sahu. BJD candidate Rita Sahu, Pranay Sahu of Congress and BJP's Ashok Panigrahi are in the fray. For the first time, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines were used in the Bijepur by-poll.

Here are the byelection LIVE Updates:

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