While the campaigning for Jhabua Assembly bypoll ended on Saturday, both Congress and the BJP seem to be in neck to neck fight for the October 21 contest.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath and his predecessor and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan held rallies in Ranapur area on the last day of campaigning.
The ruling Congress in Madhya Pradesh is leaving no stone unturned to snatch this seat from the BJP. On the other hand, for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been winning the seat for last two terms, is taking it as a challenge to retain it.
For the past couple of weeks, the entire cabinet of the Congress government has been camping in Jhabua seeking votes in favour of five-time MP and former Union Minister Kantilal Bhuria. Chief Minister Kamal Nath, too, has visited the region to hold road shows.
The Congress, which enjoys a slim majority in the State Assembly, is trying its best to wrest the seat away from BJP.
While the main contestants are senior Congress leader Kantilal Bhuria and the BJP's Bhanu Bhuria who is making his electoral debut, three independents -- Kalyan Singh Damor, Neelesh Damor and Rameshwar Singhar -- are also in the fray.
In the last year’s election, BJP's GS Damor had defeated Vikrant Bhuria of the Congress. Damor made Vikrant's father Kantilal Bhuria bite the dust in the subsequent Lok Sabha election from Ratlam seat. The Jhabua by-eleciton was necessitated as Damor resigned as MLA after winning the Lok Sabha election.
The Congress had won this seat, reserved for tribals, 10 times since 1952, But the BJP wrested it away in 2013 and retained it in 2018.
During the campaigning, the BJP attacked Kantilal
Bhuria and the Congress, saying they did nothing in terms of development of the region in the last three decades. It also highlighted Bhanu Bhuria's Rs clean image'.
On the Congress' side, Chief Minister Nath led the charge, with more than half a dozen state ministers also addressed rallies.