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The night when Kamal Nath’s and Scindia’s pre-ordered dinner went cold

“We got really demoralised at that point. Hunne Socha Yeh Sab Kya Ho Raha Hai (We wondered what was happening),” a leader said.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Dec 14, 2018, 08.00 AM IST
“We got really demoralised at that point. Hunne Socha Yeh Sab Kya Ho Raha Hai (We wondered what was happening),” a leader said.
Bhopal: Around 9 pm on Tuesday, the faces of top Congress leaders who had gathered in Kamal Nath’s room in the Congress office in Bhopal fell when the leads showed that the BJP and Congress were locked in a neckand-neck battle. Worser still, the party’s senior leaders like Ajay Singh, Arun Yadav and Suresh Pachauri, were losing their seats.

“We got really demoralised at that point. Hunne Socha Yeh Sab Kya Ho Raha Hai (We wondered what was happening),” a leader said.

As per details accessed by ET by speaking to at least two leaders who were present in the room, it is then that one of the leaders suggested that the Congress put their own people on the job and cross-check with all their candidates whether they had got the winning certificates. They soon discovered that many were yet to get it although they had won. This was perhaps the reason why the correct numbers were not reflected in the winning tally. Congress state president Kamal Nath immediately got on the phone to speak to the Collectors of the respective districts to find out why the certificates had not been issued.

“That was a revelation…as some collectors switched off their phones when Nath started making enquiries. Nath spoke four times politely, as he does, to the Collector of Damoh.

But the certificate was not being issued to our winning candidate still.

Jyotiraditya Scindia then got on the phone with the Damoh Collector to speak sternly to him and remind him of the rules. Scindia and Nath also started to cross-check all that the Collectors were telling the Chief Electoral Officer of MP,” a leader told ET. Pre-ordered dinner was set aside as Nath and Scindia were continually on the phone, talking to people across the state and Delhi, well past midnight.

What made the situation more tense was a tweet at 1:05 am from BJP state president Rakesh Singh that the BJP will also stake the claim to form the government as four independents were in touch with the BJP.

The Congress leaders heaved a sigh of relief only around 2 am and let out the first broad smiles and hugs when it was confirmed that the party was bagging 113 seats and the support of BSP, SP and the Independents was assured to them on phone. Congress spokesperson, Shobha Ojha, said the Congress wanted to thank the EC for agreeing to their demand that a certificate be issued after each round of counting. “We insisted on this. But for that, we feel many small margin seats would have been snatched from us.

We had a list of 20-25 such seats which we monitored very closely,” Ojha told ET. Nath announced around 2.45 am that they had achieved a majority.

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