May 4, 2021 3:50:01 am
In 2018, Rahul Singh Lodhi — then with the Congress — wrested the Damoh Assembly seat from senior BJP leader Jayant Malaiya with a thin victory margin. On Sunday, Lodhi lost the seat in a bypoll — necessitated by his defection to BJP — to Congress’s Ajay Tandon.
Lodhi’s defeat comes as a setback for the ruling BJP — CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and at least 13 ministers of the party were part of the campaign for the Damoh seat.
Tandon’s victory was anticipated in political circles, as people were agitated over having to cast their votes in the middle of the pandemic owing to Lodhi’s defection.
District Congress Committee president Manu Mishra said, “Many voters, who had voted for Rahul Singh Lodhi to see a change after Jayant Malaiya ruling for six terms were sorely disappointed with Lodhi who remained largely unapproachable. And then he defected to the BJP causing the bypolls in the midst of a second wave.”
Lodhi lost by 17,097 votes and got 40.34 per cent of the votes. He blamed Malaiya saying the former minister ensured that the MLA didn’t win. However, Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Monday called the defeat a loss because of their “own people” and urged the Congress to not celebrate too soon.
Congress state president Kamal Nath pointed to the result as an indication of the times to come for the BJP. “When I held my road show, it was clear to me in the way people came and met me and showed the party’s symbol. It is the victory of Congress workers who rode against the politics of money power played by the BJP and had put more energy into the Congress party,” he told The Indian Express.
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