Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections: After exit polls, BJP reaches out to Independent, BSP candidateshttps://indianexpress.com/elections/madhya-pradesh-assembly-elections-2018-results-after-exit-polls-bjp-reaches-out-to-independent-bsp-candidates-5487357/

Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections: After exit polls, BJP reaches out to Independent, BSP candidates

Both Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and PCC chief Kamal Nath claimed they were confident of a victory.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan outside the BJP office in Bhopal on Monday. (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

With some exit polls giving the Congress a slight edge in Madhya Pradesh, the ruling BJP is in touch with potential winners among independent candidates as well as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

“MP does not have a history of a fractured mandate but the exit polls have induced a sense of anxiety in the party. We are doing everything that it takes to be in the race,’’ said a senior BJP leader. He alleged that the Congress has started wooing candidates too.

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“I believe that something like this is happening,’’ said another senior BJP leader, adding that it’s natural in politics to follow such a course. He said the state has usually given a clear verdict in favour of one party. The national-level leader said the party’s first priority would be to win over rebels who contested as Independents.

The BJP had expelled more than 50 party functionaries who defied the party line by filing their nomination as Independents.

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A Satna-based BJP leader admitted that after the exit polls, he was asked to keep an eye on BSP candidates in the region. Of the seven seats in Satna district, the BJP won only three seats in 2013, while the Congress and BSP won two and one seats respectively. The leader is also keeping track of SP candidates in Panna district, where the BJP won two of three seats in 2013. The ruling party dropped Minister Kushum Mehdele from Panna, making her unhappy.

Kamal Nath at the Congress office in Bhopal, Monday. (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

A Congress leader alleged that the ruling party had sent feelers to many Independents, because it feels it will need them if it falls short by a few seats.

Satyaprakash Sakhwar, BSP MLA from Ambah in Morena district, said he was confident that both the Congress and BJP would fall short of the halfway mark. “Our candidates and Independents are the obvious choice for them. In a scenario where both will require BSP votes, Mayawatiji is more likely to lean towards the Congress,’’ he said.

A senior office-bearer of SAPAKS Party said at least one candidate in Chambal region had indicated that he would switch sides.

Meanwhile, both Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and PCC chief Kamal Nath claimed they were confident of a victory.

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