By L S Herdenia
BHOPAL: Late night political scene in Madhya Pradesh has undone some surprise change for both BJP and Congress For BJP it was never expected that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi will directly appeal to M.P. voters “to support me by reposing confidence yet again in BJP to form a double engine government”.
As for the Congress it bowed before the pressure of a section of the party men and made changes in the list of party candidates.
It came as a surprise for the leaders and rank and file of the BJP when Prime Minister Narendra Modi threw himself into the Madhya Pradesh electoral battle emphasizing that a vote for BJP would mean support for him even as he lauded the role of Shivraj Singh Chouhan led BJP government in turning the state around in the two-decade saffron spell in Bhopal.
In a letter to the MP electorate the PM said, I have always felt special affinity for Madhya Pradesh, which showed its affection for me by handing unprecedented victories in both 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. I have full confidence that in the coming elections, you would again support me directly by reposing confidence yet again in BJP to form a double engine government”.
The appeal was significant also for the full-throated endorsement of CM Chouhan for speeding up development in MP and leading its transformation from a member of the BIMARU club of backward states into one of the 10 top performing economies in the country.
“In the last 20 years, MP has shaken off its past as one of the BIMARU states to become powerful, prosperous and self-reliant. Who can forget that until 2003 (beginning of BJP’s current dominance) the state had lacked basic facilities of power, water and roads. Thanks to the trust you placed in us, the state ranks among the top fastest-growing economies in the country. I feel proud after seeing that tireless efforts of Shivraj Singh Chouhan and BJP government have resulted in constructions of 5 lakh km of roads, piped water supply to 65 thousand households and the generation of 28,000 MVAs of electricity”.
The compliment for Chouhan comes against the backdrop of persistent speculation about his place In BJP’s new scheme of things, with the party’s decision not to project him as the face of its campaign and fielded MPs including Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar in the assembly elections, thus thickening the cloud over the incumbent.
These 20 years have not only been defined by MP’s development, they have also been marked by your trust in us. Today, MP’s development model has become a template for welfare of poor, advancement of women and comprehensive development”. Said the PM in what appeared to a reference to Chouhan’s “Laadli” scheme for women.
However, by yoking himself directly to the campaign effort, Modi may also be hoping to counter “fatigue” that may have set in with Chouhan who has been at the helm since 2005, barring the 15 month long spell beginning late 2018 when Congress was in power. By putting himself in the fray he also appeared to be aiming at sections who, while enthused about him, tend to be indifferent towards BJP’s prospects in state contests. Coming after Karnataka, it is the second appeal by the PM seeking support for BJP in a state election. However unlike Karnataka where he did it late his latest pitch comes just when the battle for MP is about to be joined in full earnest.
As for Congress, the state leadership was forced to assign tickets to such party men who could not find their name in the original list. According to changes Pichore goes to Arvind Singh Lodhi, the prestigious Datia seat (from which BJP candidate is home minister and senior party leader Dr Narottam Mishra) has been allotted to Rajendra Bharti, who has been opposing him in last two elections. Similarly Gotegaon which was won by N. P Prajapati and who held the post of speaker of Vidhan Sabha, was also denied ticket in previous list. It is said that PCC chief Kamal Nath was angry with him. It appears that Kamal Nath was forced to change his decision and assign ticket to Prajapati.
The decision about the Amla seat has been kept on hold because the party is awaiting the government’s decision about the resignation of Deputy Collector Nisha Bangre. If her resignation is accepted then she will be the choice of Congress. (IPA Service)