After its candidate from Guna switched sides days before polling, the BSP continued its campaign in a bid to ensure that he gets more votes and spoils the prospects the party he jumped to.
BSP candidate from Guna, Lokendra Singh Dhakad, switched loyalty to Congress’s Jyotiraditya Scindia a few days before the polling day. On April 29, when the last date of withdrawal of nomination for the sixth phase was already over, Dhakad joined the Congress, saying he was impressed by Scindia and wanted to work for him. He started seeking votes for Scindia from that point.
BSP supremo Mayawati was so angry that she threatened to reconsider her party’s support to the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh, alleging that it misused official machinery to force its official nominee to withdraw. There was no way the BSP could have fielded another candidate so she announced that the party will respond by only contesting on its symbol. She asked cadres to continue seeking votes for the party symbol.
Since Dhakad continued to be the official BSP candidate, the EVMs had his name and the party symbol. When the votes were counted, Dhakad polled 37,530 votes. Scindia eventually lost the seat to the BJP’s Krishna Pal Singh by a margin of 1,25,549 votes.
Days after Scindia’s defeat, Dhakad does not regret his defection. “BSP has a missionary-type vote in every assembly segment. Many of these voters live in such interior areas that they may not have heard about my decision to pull out,’’ he said. “I supported Scindia but the BSP (voters) supported its symbol.”
Had Dhakad withdrawn candidature before the due date, the BSP symbol would have not figured on the EVMs. “Pata nahi kya hua bhagwan jaane (I don’t know what happened),’’ he said.
Dhakad claims had he contested on BSP symbol, he would have got votes of the BSP, the Dhakad community and of those who are unhappy with other parties. He said the BSP had asked him to reconsider his decision. “The BSP said it was wrong but I was helpless my wavelength matched with Scindia’s,’’ he said.
Dhakad is registered as a voter in Ujjain. Asked who he would have voted for if he was registered in Guna, he said he would have cast his vote for Scindia.