In 2014, the BJP swept the mayoral elections in Madhya Pradesh by scoring all 16 seats. This year, however, the state’s ruling BJP retained nine seats, lost five to Congress, one to the Aam Aadmi Party, or AAP, and one to a party rebel who fought as an independent from Katni.
The Congress won a mayoral election in Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s Lok Sabha constituency and state BJP chief VD Sharma’s home district, Morena.
This is the BJP’s worst performance in two decades in Madhya Pradesh’s mayoral elections. In 1999 and 2004, the Congress won just two seats and in the 2009 polls, it managed to win three mayoral seats.
In a significant political development, two new parties have also made their entry – the AAP by winning Singrauli, and Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM.
In Burhanpur, an AIMIM mayoral candidate got more than 10,000 votes in her favour, resulting in the defeat of Congress’s Shanaz Ismail by a narrow margin of 388 votes against BJP’s Madhuri Patel.
The Congress won three out of the 11 mayoral posts in the first phase compared to BJP’s seven, but in the second phase the Congress snatched Morena and Rewa from the BJP.
The BJP won the second phase of mayoral polls in Ratlam and Dewas, while its rebel candidate Priti Suri, who contested as an independent after she was denied a party ticket, defeated the party’s official candidate Jyoti Dixit in Katni. Katni comes under state BJP chief VD Sharma’s Lok Sabha constituency Khajuraho.
In Jabalpur, Rewa and Gwalior, which elected Congress mayor, and Katni, which voted for the BJP rebel as mayor, and Singrauli, where the AAP candidate was elected mayor, the same voters supported BJP councillors in a majority of the wards in municipal corporations.
The BJP swept the Nagar Palika polls in communally sensitive Khargone town, which was the site of deadly riots on Ram Navami on April 10. The ruling party won 19 out of the total 33 wards of Khargone Nagar Palika, followed by the Congress in four wards, AIMIM in three wards and independents in seven wards.
With this, AIMIM managed to win in seven municipal wards in four cities and towns, including Jabalpur, Burhanpur, Khandwa and Khargone, besides playing a key role in the Congress’s loss against the ruling BJP in Burhanpur.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan congratulated party workers. “Congress has won mayoral polls in Gwalior, Jabalpur and Rewa; however, the BJP has not only won majority in the municipal corporations in the same cities, but will consequently have its own chairpersons running the proceedings of those very corporations,” Mr Chouhan said.
“In Katni, the mayor is an independent candidate who belongs to the BJP only, while in Singrauli the mayor is from AAP, but our party has the majority in the corporation,” he said.
State Congress chief Kamal Nath said the results were a sign of what is going to happen in the assembly election next year.
The BJP performed better in Nagar Palika and Nagar Parishad polls by winning 65 out of the 76 Nagar Palikas at 85 per cent strike rate and 231 out of the 255 Nagar Parishads at 90.58 per cent success rate.