The BJP on Sunday swept municipal elections in Madhya Pradesh, a result that appeared to demonstrate that the Vyapam scandal that the Congress used to demand Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s resignation and to stall Parliament for all of the Monsoon Session, has no resonance with voters.
The ruling party won eight out of 10 civic bodies, votes for which were cast on August 12, a day of unprecedented acrimony in Delhi, when Rahul Gandhi launched a no-holds-barred attack on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“It’s a victory of our ideology. I am overwhelmed. I am also angry because an attempt was made to defame Madhya Pradesh on Vyapam. People here are peaceloving and simple. The Congress maligned us because it could not fight us electorally,” a beaming Chouhan said at the party headquarters.
The Chief Minister also credited the victory to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his policies. Modi, who had publicly backed Chouhan at an election rally in Bihar last week, tweeted, “MP civic polls results are gladdening. I thank people of MP for reposing their trust in BJP. I salute efforts of karya kartas and party leaders.”
MP civic poll results are gladdening. I thank people of MP for reposing their trust in BJP. I salute efforts of Karyakartas & party leaders.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 16, 2015
The BJP comfortably won the mayoral elections to the Morena and Ujjain municipal corporations. It now has mayors in all 16 municipal corporations in the state.
It also won two nagarpalikas and four nagar parishads. The Congress won only the Sarangpur nagarpalika in Rajgarh district. A BJP rebel was elected president of the Guhwara municipality in Chhattarpur district.
Thank you very much for your continued support and faith. MP will continue to work under your dynamic leadership. https://t.co/iJykX6GRRf
— ShivrajSingh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) August 16, 2015
The BJP registered victories in municipal bodies in Morena, Ujjain, Harda, Chakghat (Rewa), Bhainsdehi (Betul), Kotar (Satna), Suwasara (Mandsaur) and Vidisha. The party had swept the civic polls in the state earlier this year. Elections to 10 10 municipal bodies could not be held then.
The BJP has wrested five municipal bodies from the Congress, including a municipal body in Satna district where the Congress had been in power for nearly 25 years. BJP chief Nandkumar Chouhan said the Congress had been relegated to the third position there.
The Congress, which had attempted unsuccessfully to turn Vyapam into an issue in the 2013 assembly elections and the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well, accused the BJP of manipulating EVMs. A party spokesperson decried the alleged arrogance of the BJP and the Chief Minister, and said the election results did not mean that Vyapam had ceased to be an issue. “The BJP has forgotten that the CBI is investigating and the courts are hearing cases,” the spokesperson said.
The Chief Minister said the BJP’s political rivals could not digest the development of the state, and had launched a propaganda to defame it, including on foreign soil. “I am worried what new (electoral) record we will set next time,” he joked.
“Is MP a land of killers?” Chouhan asked the crowd of party workers, referring to allegations that individuals linked to the Vyapam scam were being killed one by one. “No,” the crowd replied.
The Chief Minister subsequently tweeted, “People have given fitting reply to negative forces, bent upon tarnishing the image of MP. Election results again underlines faith in Govt.
“Election results have also sent strong message to those indulging in politics of character assassination. People have rejected them again.”
And, “State is moving rapidly on the path of development. It has no place for negative politics. The sooner opposition realizes it, the better.”