The bypolls have been necessitated by the resignation of 22 Congress MLAs, who left the party with Jyotiraditya Scindia this March to prop up a BJP government in the state. Three more Congress MLAs resigned subsequently while two seats fell vacant due to the demise of the incumbent lawmakers.
To return to power on its own, the Congress, which now has 89 MLAs in the 230-member MP assembly, will need to win all 27 seats. The BJP, which has 107 MLAs, needs just nine seats to attain a simple majority.
During the 2018 assembly election, the Congress campaign was jointly shepherded by Nath and Scindia while veteran Digvijaya Singh did the behind-the-scenes planning and kept a check on potential dissidents. While Nath and Scindia are rivals now, political observers suggest that not all is well between the former chief minister and his once-trusted ally Digvijaya. But Nath, who is the state Congress chief, is unperturbed by the challenge. “I have contested and won more elections than most politicians in the country. As the party in-charge, I have organised more elections than anyone. Our fight is against the organisation of the BJP,” says Nath.
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