Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India
Nov 21, 2018, 11.53 AM
With the conclusion of the second and final phase of polling in BJP ruled Chhattisgarh on Tuesday (20 November), all eyes are now on the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, also under BJP rule for last 15 years, where polling will be held on November 28 .
The contest is triangular in Chhattisgarh between the ruling BJP, Congress and the BSP-JCC alliance.
In Madhya Pradesh also the main battle is between the BJP and the Congress. The BSP and Samajwadi Party are also in the fray and would be angling for about a dozen seats, mainly constituencies in districts bordering Uttar Pradesh. There are also small pockets where the Aam Aadmi Party candidates have positioned themselves among the top three contenders.
The huge people’s movement against reservation, which has been built in the state since 2016 by Samanya Pichda Alpsankhyaalyan Samaj (Sapaks Samaj), had received a shot in the arm by the massive public response to the call for Bharat Bandh against the amendment to the SC/ST Atrocities Act on September 6 this year.
This had given an indication of the emergence of a third force in MP politics but its punch and edge got dissipated within no time. A major reason for this is the vertical split in Sapaks Samaj and the controversy over the registration of a political party by the name of “Sapaks Party” by the Election Commission. A Division bench, headed by the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh high court, heard a writ petition in this matter on Monday (19 November) and reserved for order its verdict in this matter. Also there were about two dozen newly registered and untested political parties, lacking the basic leadership but claiming to represent those opposed to the reservation on caste lines.
They suddenly popped up like mushroom but nothing has been heard of them after a futile bid by popular Kathavachak Devkinandan Thakur to bring them under a single umbrella by ensuring all parties opposed to the Atrocities Act unite and settle for “single banner and same election symbol” in every constituency.
In Madhya Pradesh, the state BJP unit will be taking its poll campaign to another level on Wednesday (November 21) by lighting lotus shaped “diyas” (lamps), symbolising BJP’s election symbol, in homes across the state. This has a religious connotation as the BJP has named its novel form of the campaign as Kamal Diwali. It will be observed with the same enthusiasm as Diwali, the festival of lights.
Kamal Diwali will be a demonstration of BJP’s reach and support base prior to polling, now only a week away. It will also help in ensuring the BJP workers at the booth level are in the alert mode to help mobilise votes on D-day. BJP’s target is to reach out and cover at least 60000 villages through Kamal Diwali.
Not to be left behind will be the Congress party. Its workers will be going from booth-to-booth and door-to-door to present cotton wicks to the voters to light the “Badlav ki Baati” (lamps for change).
In the final run-up to elections, leaders from both sides – BJP and Congress – are following the no-holds-barred approach when it comes to lashing out at each other.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was at his piercing best at his election rallies at Jhabua and Rewa, two far corners of Madhya Pradesh, on Tuesday. Targeting the Congress and holding it responsible for spreading corruption, the Prime Minister said that he was forced to go ahead with demonetisation to strike at the termite of corruption. Taking a dig at the Nehru-Gandhi family, he cited the example of the Moghuls and the ruling class in ancient and pre-history days and said four generations down the line their rule fell into decay.
From the Congress side, while former Congress president Arun Yadav is locked in a bitter fight with State Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Budhni, State Congress President Kamal Nath, along with party satraps Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ajay Singh, Digvijaya Singh and Suresh Pachouri are holding the fort, countering every attack from the BJP side by throwing shot for shot and galvanising support for their party candidates in their respective areas of influence.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)