For Congress, the Maihar bypoll, slated for February 13, is a prestige issue as it won the seat in 2013 despite BJP getting over two-thirds majority in the state Assembly.

However, Congress suffered a jolt in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when its Maihar MLA, Narayan Tripathi, switched to BJP.

Political experts say that led to the defeat of Congress candidate and former Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Ajay Singh, in the battle for the Satna Lok Sabha seat in 2014.

Now, in order to win Maihar, BJP has fielded Tripathi from the seat. And, leaving no stone unturned to ensure Tripathi's defeat, Congress has given the ticket to Manish Patel to consolidate backward class votes in the Brahmin-dominated seat. Patel had joined Congress after quitting Bahujan Samaj Party.

"We are going to teach a lesson to party hopper Tripathi this time. BJP has also realised its mistake by taking him into its fold as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who had earlier announced that he will be in Maihar since the beginning for campaigning, has not yet arrived here", Ajay Singh told from Maihar.

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