Damoh bypoll loss: BJP candidate blames internal sabotage

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(Eds: Adds BJP candidate's quotes) Bhopal, May 3 (PTI) The BJP's Rahul Lodhi on Monday blamed 'massive internal sabotage' for his defeat at the hands of Congressman Ajay Tandon in the Damoh bypoll in Madhya Pradesh, the result of which was announced a day earlier.

Tandon beat Lodhi by 17,097 votes, the bypoll having been necessitated after the latter left the Congress and joined the BJP late last year.

Speaking to reporters in the early hours of the day, Lodhi said, 'The reason for my defeat is absolutely clear. It was due to massive internal sabotage. We lost heavily from the urban areas. People who said the BJP was like their mother have committed dishonesty.' Queried about who he was referring to, Lodhi said, 'It is senior BJP leader and former MP minister Jayant Malaiya (74) and his family. They are solely responsible for my defeat. We lost in their ward. We lost heavily in city areas where Malaiya's son Siddharth was supposed to drum up support for us.' He said the 'Malaiya family gameplan' had succeeded while the BJP had lost, and demanded that they be expelled from the party.

During the day, Union Minister and senior MP BJP leader Prahlad Patel too had blamed 'conspiracies' on the part of insiders for the party's defeat in the Damoh bypoll.

The Damoh bypoll result gives clear indications of future challenges, conspiracies and improvements in the system and workers will find solutions through diligence and without being malicious, Patel, the local Lok Sabha MP, had said in a tweet.

While former state minister Jayant Malaiya, who was BJP MLA for several terms from the area earlier, stayed away from the bypoll campaign, sources said there were several local leaders in the party who were upset with Lodhi joining it.

Lodhi, incidentally, had defeated Malaiya in the 2018 Assembly polls, though the former at the time was in the Congress.

MP Home minister Narottam Mishra on Monday said 'we lost Damoh due to out own Jaichands'.

It is a common reference for an insider who betrays, the term coming from the role played by Jaichand who back- stabbed Prithviraj Chauhan in the latter's fight against invader Muhammad Ghori in the 12th century. PTI COR LAL ADU MAS BNM BNM