In the second phase of state elections scheduled to be held on November 17, corruption has become a major issue in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. PM Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi are leading the allegation wars on behalf of BJP and Congress respectively. PM Modi alleged that ruling Congress in Chhattisgarh looted the state for the last five years, while Rahul Gandhi alleged that Madhya Pradesh has become the corruption capital of India under double engine government of BJP.
BJP has been trying hard to regain its lost ground in Chhattisgarh. The state was under BJP rule during 2003-2018, but Congress had thrown it out of power in 2018 Vidhan Sabha election by winning 68 seats out of 90. BJP could win only 15 seats. BJP had lost 34 seats while the Congress gained 29 seats compared to Vidhan Sabha election of 2014. Even in terms of vote share, BJP had lost 8.04 per cent of its votes while Congress gained 2.71 per cent, making 10 per cent of vote margins between Congress’ 43 per cent of total vote share and BJP’s 33 per cent.
Only two days before the first phase of election on November 7, ED came out with corruption charge against CM Bhupesh Baghel that Rs508 crore were illegally given to him by Mahadev betting app promoters. It was just culmination of other corruption charges against Baghel led Congress government in Chhattisgarh. Earlier in September, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had launched an “Aarop Patra’ (chargesheet or a catalogue of allegations) against CM Bhupesh Baghel led Congress government in the state. It was alleged in the BJP’s chargesheet against CM Baghel that his government was deeply entrenched in corruption, dynastic politics, and casteism. However, the chargesheet failed in bringing down CM Baghel’s popularity in the state.
On November 13, PM Modi began “countdown” attack on Congress targeting Baghel over Mahadev app row. Addressing the Vijay Sankalp Maharally at Mungeli, PM Modi said, ““I want to ask some questions to Congress. The ‘Mahadev betting app scam’ is worth ₹508 crore and the probe agencies have recovered loads of cash in this case. A close aide of the Chhattisgarh CM is also in jail. Congress should reveal how much money did the CM receive in this.”
PM Modi even claimed, “The time has come for the farewell of those Congress leaders who have looted you for 5 years. The public of the state is more eager for the ‘bidai’ of Congress from the state… The public doesn’t want Congress anymore.” He said that action will be taken against the corrupt in the state after BJP comes to power.
CM Baghel has responded to the PM’s allegation of corruption against him by suggesting, “PM Modi should take action against Raman Singh first. He should not take action selectively. He should take action against people like Himanta Biswa Sarma and Ajit Pawar, who have come out clean after being washed in ‘Modi washing powder’.”
At a poll rally in Neemuch district in Madhya Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi has dubbed Madhya Pradesh as India’s ‘corruption capital’ under double engine government of CM Shivraj Sigh Chouhan in the state and PM Modi at the Centre. It was a “countdown” attack on ruling BJP in the state that has been ruling the state since 2023 barring only about 15-month of rule of Congress, that was toppled in 2020 by BJP through an engineered defection in the Congress.
“Today Madhya Pradesh is the capital of corruption,” Rahul Gandhi said while addressing the poll rally. “You must have seen the video of BJP leader Narendra Singh Tomarji’s son. They are looting your money. The people of the state are suffering losses due to the loot of BJP leaders.” Rahul Gandhi was referring to the recent viral video showing the son of Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and a “middleman” talking about several crore rupees.
Congress has been making numerous corruption charges against CM Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh and his family members and BJP leaders which included MPPEB scam or Vyapam scam among others. PM Modi led government at the Centre has been accused of not taking action against CM Chouhan and other BJP leaders of the state on alleged corruptions.
Congress leaders suggesting the effectiveness of “Modi Washing Machine with Modi Washing Powder” that washes all corruption charges of corrupt leaders of the BJP, or whoever supports BJP and Modi government.
In Madhya Pradesh, BJP seems to be fighting a losing battle. Pre-poll surveys conducted by various organisations have predicted that the ruling BJP is set to lose power in the state to Congress. CM Chouhan has become an unpopular chief minister in the state, while the BJP rank and file suffer from a severe infighting.
Election campaigns in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh would come to close within the next 24 hours. Emergence of the corruption as major issue in both the states at this juncture is an important political development which may influence the voters, particularly floating voters, as per the ‘merit’ or ‘demerit’ of the allegations. (IPA Service)