Sensing the vulnerabilities of the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has decided to target the forts of major opposition leaders, including Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamalnath. The incumbent CM got massive crowd support in his yatra in State Congress president Kamal Nath’s stronghold – Chhindwara. His constituency has eight seats and the BJP won all of them in 2013 assembly elections. BJP is working in the direction to repeat the same episode again in the upcoming state assembly elections. The party has activated its booth level committees and the RSS volunteers who are working day and night to reach out to the grassroot voters of the Chhindwara.
The Economic Times has quoted a senior BJP office-bearer saying, “Nath is the Congress state unit chief and is not likely to give much time to Chhindwara. He will be busy campaigning for the party in the state.” The office bearer has made a right point and it will work in BJP’s favor.
The BJP is also working hard in Guna-Shivpuri region. This region is the stronghold of campaign committee chairman and CM aspirant Jyotiraditya Scindia. His aunt and minister Yashodhara Raje who is in the BJP seems to be well-placed and very strong in the region. Moreover, other candidates are not that much strong and don’t appear to be enjoying the support of voters in the region.
The BJP has endowed Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar with the responsibility to look after the campaigning in the region. He will be helped by former MP Maya Singh, who is married in the Scindia family. She is currently Child Development Minister in the current BJP Madhya Pradesh government. However, this time she has been denied ticket by the party. Many other prominent leaders of the BJP would also be campaigning in the Guna-Shivpuri-Gwalior region. The BJP wants to leave no stone unturned in order to spoil the electoral prospects of the major leaders of Congress- Scindia, and Kamalnath- in their own constituency.
BJP’s star campaigner and trump card, PM Modi will also campaign extensively in the state. BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said, “PM Modi and CM Chouhan will be the face of the BJP campaign.”
Several BJP leaders have expressed with confidence that factionalism and ongoing infighting within the Congress would end-up benefitting the saffron party. It is no hidden secret that in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress is divided into three factions- Jyotiraditya Scindia, Digvijay, and Kamal Nath. Although, Digvijay Singh has been steadily side-lined in the last few months by giving Kamal Nath the charge of election campaign in MP. The main fight seems to be between state Congress president Kamal Nath and campaign committee chairman Jyotiraditya Scindia. However, there is still uncertainty about the direction in which former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijay Singh would swing.
This infighting has already started showing repercussions and is bound to hurt the prospects of Congress in the state. Last week, Madhya Pradesh Congress received a major setback as Premchand Guddu, the former Congress MP and MLA from the state has left the party and joined the BJP, alleging caste discrimination. He also lambasted the Congress for the ongoing tussle within the party. Guddu said, “It’s shameful that Raja-Maharajas (Digvijaya is referred to as Raja, Scindia is descendent from the line of Maharajas of Gwalior) have to fight over tickets. Was there any SC/ST neta who was called there? They want to form a government of maharajas and businessmen and loot. We won’t let them.” His switch is likely to benefit the BJP which is already very strong in the state as compared to Congress. As far as major leaders of the Congress-Scindia and Kamalnath- are concerned, everyone knows that till 2016 they were hardly seen in MP and were busy in national politics. They are back to MP because of state assembly elections and with their entry into the state, local leaders like Ajay Singh and Arun Yadav find themselves sidelined within the party. Some strong local leaders are not happy on being ignored by the party. They are not likely to campaign enthusiastically for the party in the upcoming elections and this might further spoil the Congress party’s electoral prospects which is already on a weak wicket.
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