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MP cliffhanger ends, Congress emerges single-largest party as BSP, SP lend support

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan resigned from the post on Wednesday declaring that the BJP was not going to stake claim.

SNS | New Delhi |

The counting of votes finally concluded in Madhya Pradesh as the Election Commission of India declared the results with Congress winning 114 seats, just two short of halfway mark in the 230 seat assembly. The BJP was close behind with 109 seats, Bhujan Samaj Party 2, Samajwadi Party 1 and the Independents 4.

Following the results, the BSP and SP on Wednesday pledged their support to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh “to keep BJP out of power”, making it the single-largest party in the state.

Mayawati said that even though BSP does not agree with many of the Congress policies, it will support the grand old party in Madhya Pradesh and also in Rajasthan if needed “to keep BJP out of power”.

Read | BSP, SP extend support to Congress in MP ‘to keep BJP out of power’

Targeting the ruling government, the BSP chief said the poll results explained that the people in states like Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh were “totally against the BJP and its anti-people policies”.

With the support, Congress leaders met Governor Anandiben Patel at Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form the government.

Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee chief Kamal Nath along with senior Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijay Singh submitted the claim citing figures showing absolute majority.

Read | Congress stakes claim to form government in Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh proved to be a marathon cliffhanger as the state witnessed a see-saw battle between the BJP and the Congress till midnight.

In a late night drama, the Congress had declared that they had won the state with a clear majority. In a press conference held at 2:30 am, top Congress leaders Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijaya Singh said they had written a letter to the Governor to invite them to prove their majority.

“With utmost happiness, I wish to inform you that Congress has won clear majority. We have written a letter to the Governor to invite us so that we can prove our majority before him,” he told media.

Earlier on Tuesday, senior Congress leader Kamal Nath was in talks with Mayawati’s BSP, the SP, regional player Gondwana Gantantra Party and independents.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan resigned from the post on Wednesday declaring that the BJP was not going to stake claim.

“As we have not got clear majority, we are not going to stake claim to form the government. And I am going to the Governor to resign as the Chief Minister,” Chouhan said.

Read | Shivraj Singh Chouhan resigns as Madhya Pradesh CM, recites poem quoted by Atal

The BJP had been ruling Madhya Pradesh for 15 years under the leadership of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Scripting a new narrative of its revival and resurgence in the country’s politics — especially in the crucial electoral politics of the Hindi heartland — just ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Congress party had earlier on Tuesday wrested two states, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, from the BJP.

The outcome of this round of Assembly polls, which could be a bellwether for the coming general elections, clearly boosted the leadership profile of Congress president Rahul Gandhi who had all along been flayed for his party’s poor showings in state after state earlier. This also came on the first anniversary of his appointment as Congress president.

Buoyed by his party’s victory in the Hindi heartland, Gandhi, who had vigorously campaigned in these polls dubbed as the “semi-finals to the 2019 general elections”, said their outcome was a “clear message” to the Modi government that people were not happy with it and that it was “now time for change”.