BJP insiders are also pointing out towards a well-planned conspiracy in party which resulted into a big loss in all polling booths.
BHOPAL: Serious accusations by BJP candidate Rahul Singh Lodhi have triggered fresh rumblings in the saffron party over defeat in Damoh bypoll, with senior leaders Prahlad Patel and Narrottam Mishra joining the debate.
Patel said the party will review its performance and conspiracies during the bypoll. Mishra openly blamed traitors for the party’s defeat. The state leadership is yet to take stand on the ongoing feud in the party.
BJP lost Damoh seat in the by-poll to Congress candidate Ajay Tandon by a huge margin of 17,089 votes. After counting of votes, BJP candidate Rahul Singh Lodhi took everybody by surprise when he accused party veteran Jayant Malaiya for conspiring against him.
Malaiya also reacted sharply holding Lodhi’s responsible for the rout. Amid counter allegations, Union minister Prahlad Patel said that party would review if there is conspiracy during the by-election.
“The Damoh election result gave us clear indications of future challenges, conspiracies and improvements in the system. We all the workers will find solutions with diligence and irreproachable practices,” tweeted Patel stirring debate over the role of a few party leaders during the byelections.
Adding fuel to the controversy, Madhya Pradesh home minister clearly mentioned that BJP lost the Damoh by-election due to betrayers. “We lost Damoh by-election because of ‘Jaychand’ (traitors). But Congress should not be too happy. Kamal Nath is not giving attention where the Congress has been wiped out from all over the country. Congress is nowhere now,” Mishra told reporters when asked about Lodhi’s allegations.
Sources in BJP disclosed that internal conflict in the saffron party was exposed during the poll campaign and it was rumoured that Prahlad Patel had written to prime minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah against some leaders in Damoh. BJP insiders are also pointing out towards a well-planned conspiracy in party which resulted into a big loss in all polling booths.
In Damoh, BJP had roped in three union ministers, five members of Parliament and more than 30 MLAs and top office-bearers. BJP leaders though, attribute party’s loss to Rahul’s changing loyalty, resentment among local BJP workers including Malaiya’s supporters and impact of Covid-19 crisis in rural areas where several coronavirus affected people had lost hope due to poor health facilities.
Apart from BJP, the Sangh Parivar and saffron groups are also surprised with the Damoh results as most the leaders believed that by-polls are a `bed of roses’ for the ruling party. BJP state president Vishnu Dutt Sharma said, “Our workers worked tirelessly in each booth in the Damoh by-election. I thank them for this. We are not discouraged by the results but we will move forward with a resolve to further strengthen the organization. We accept public opinion in Damoh and would review the party’s defeat,” said Sharma.
Damoh is also considered a big loss to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s image of a saviour who had turned the table in favour of BJP during by-polls on 28 seats, including 16 in Gwalior-Chambal region, in November last year. After Damoh results, factions led by various regional leaders will continue to hit the party leadership seeking further attention, sources said.
For the last five years, BJP’s performance in the by-poll on one or two seats was not satisfactory though, the party won 19 out of 28 seats during the previous by-elections and retained power. However, BJP lost Chitrakoot in 2017, Mungaoli and Kailaras in 2018 and Jhabua in 2019 by-elections.