The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems poised to make a remarkable comeback in Madhya Pradesh, having overcome the big hurdle of anti-incumbency. While Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is seeking a fifth term in office, is comfortably leading (Budhni seat), several ministers in his Cabinet, including senior party leader Narottam Mishra, are trailing in their respective constituencies.
As per data available on the Election Commission website till 3 p.m., at least five of the 22 Cabinet Ministers in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government are behind their rivals from the Congress. Home Minister Narottam Mishra is trailing by over 6,000 votes against Bharti Rajendra of the Congress in Datia after the fifth round of counting.
Mr. Mishra, a prominent face of the BJP in Madhya Pradesh and a six-term MLA from Datia, has courted several controversies in the past for his comments on political rivals and pop culture. His remarks on the attires used in a song featuring actors Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan triggered a wave of protests and calls for a ban on their movie “Pathaan”.
The Minister also led efforts to present the anti-conversion Bill in the State Assembly. The Bill was passed in 2021. Notably, the EC had in 2017 banned Mr. Mishra from contesting elections for three years following allegations of paid news against him. He, however, later got relief from the Delhi High Court.
Besides the Home Minister, Minister of Road and Transport Govind Singh Rajput is behind his main rival, Neeraj Sharma of the Congress, by around 2,000 votes in Surkhi.
Meanwhile, Mahendra Singh Sisodia, who holds the portfolio of Panchayat and Rural Development, is behind Rishi Agarwal of the Congress by more than 15,000 votes after 19 rounds of counting. His colleague Omprakash Sakhlecha is also trailing by around 500 votes after 10 rounds of counting in Jawad.
Another BJP Minister, Arvind Singh Bhadauria, is currently behind Congress’s Hemant Katare by 18,689 votes after the ninth round of counting. Meanwhile, Rajvardhan Singh Dattigaon is trailing Bhawar Singh Shekhawat by 3,726 votes after the 16th round of counting.
The polls for the 230-member Assembly in Madhya Pradesh were held in a single phase on November 17. Of the 230 seats, 47 are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and 35 for Scheduled Castes. Polling saw a turnout of 77.82%, surpassing the 2018 voting percentage of 75.63%. Over 2,500 candidates were in the fray in 230 constituencies throughout the State.