The upcoming bypoll to the Jhabua Lok Sabha constituency in Madhya Pradesh on October 21 is expected to be the litmus test for the state's Kamal Nath government.
While Chief Minister Kamal Nath is holding rallies and road shows for his party candidate Kantilal Bhuria, BJP state President Rakesh Singh and former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan are campaigning for their candidate Bhanu Bhuria.
The bypoll is crucial for the Congress as the party does not have a majority in the Assembly and is being supported by the the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Independent MLAs. Out of 230 Assembly seats, the Congress has 114 and the BJP has 108 seats.
While the Congress wants to strengthen its position in the bypoll, the BJP is trying to portray it as a referendum on the performance of the Kamal Nath government.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath said, "Unlike the BJP, which ruled Madhya Pradesh for 15 years but only gave fake announcements and jumlas, the Congress government has started fulfilling all its promises -- from farm loan waiver to social security pension -- since the day it came to power. "
BJP state President Rakesh Singh however, contradicted the claim. "The Congress government has given empty promises to the people. Neither the debt of the farmers was waived, nor the unemployed got any allowance and the tribals are being treated unfairly. Not only this, the public welfare schemes started during the BJP rule have been discontinued. There is great dissatisfaction among the people and the Jhabua by-election will give the answer," said Singh.
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