The ruling Congress moved one seat closer to the majority mark in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly after winning the bye-election in Jhabua constituency on Thursday. Holding the bye-poll became necessary after GS Damor, the sitting Bharatiya Janata Party legislator, was elected to Parliament in May.

The bye-poll in Jhabua was a crucial one for the Kamal Nath-led Congress government. With the victory, the Congress now has 115 members in the Assembly, just one short of simple majority in the 230-member House. At present, the party is dependent on allies to reach the majority mark.

Senior Congress leader Kantilal Bhuria, who contested the seat, defeated the BJP’s Bhanu Bhuria by 27,804 votes. Bhuria was contesting an election for the first time.

The Congress had won the constituency 10 times from 1952 to 2013, when the BJP bagged it. The saffron party retained it in 2018.

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