Bhopal: Eyeing the 27 crucial Assembly seats that are to go for by-elections soon in Madhya Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced that its workers will take out a 10-day long Ramshila Poojan Rath Yatra in all poll-bound constituencies of the state between September 2 and 11.
The BJP, which toppled the Congress government on March 23 this year, has 107 MLAs in the 230-member state Assembly, nine short of the majority mark of 114. The Congress has 89 MLAs and there are two Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), one Samajwadi Party (SP) and four independent MLAs in the assembly. The BJP needs to win nine seats out of 27 to retain the power in the State.
A day before the official launch of campaign, the Revenue and Transport Minister of Madhya Pradesh, BJP's Govind Singh Rajput carried out Rath Yatra’ in the Surkhi Assembly seat of Madhya Pradesh’s Sagar district, where a by-poll is due, on Tuesday, September 1, and made the announcement.
“Many of my well-wishers have expressed desire to send Ramshila (Bricks) to Ayodhya for construction of the temple,” Rajput said during the Rath Yatra on Tuesday in Sagar. “Ramshilas will be taken in five directions in the constituencies for its worship from September 2 to September 11 after which the same would be carried to Ayodhya,” he said.
Rajput, who was elected a member of the State Assembly during 2018 Assembly Elections on Congress’ ticket from Surkhi seat switched over to the BJP along with 21other Congress MLAs in March this year. Soon, on April 21, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan inducted him into the cabinet without being a member of assembly. And now, he is campaigning to contest the upcoming by-poll from the BJP to retain his seat.
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The convener of the Rath Yatra, Anil Tiwari, claimed that five vehicles which will be used as Rath (chariot) and these vehicles will carry bricks made of eight metals including silver, and will be sent to the five various directions of the Surkhi constituency.
“The Sagar district administration has given permission for the Ramshila Poojan Rath Yatra. The police and our party workers will ensure compliance of all the safety norms against Covid-19 during the yatra”, Tiwari said.
The Rath Yatra, ahead of the crucial by-polls which are expected to be held in October, is being seen as an attempt to woo the Hindu voters. The by-polls will decide the fate of the BJP government in the State.
The State BJP office bearers, however, denied that the Rath Yatra has anything to do with the by-polls.
“The programme has nothing to do with the by-polls and it has been organised in view of sentiments of people who want to contribute to construction of the Ram temple,” said former Bhopal MP Alok Sanjar who was in Sagar at the time of announcement.
State BJP media in-charge Lokendra Parashar said, “The party has not made any formal decision on Rath Yatra, but the party workers are free to do it out of their faith.”