MP: Congress, BJP Pulling Strings to win Malwa-Nimar Region
Bhopal: There is a popular dictum among the political corridors in Madhya Pradesh that the party which wins the Malwa-Nimar region or western and south-western regions wins the state. It's nerve-centre of electoral politics in the state.
The 66 Assembly seats out of a total 230-seated house are dominated by the farmers and Bhil tribals, and the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) holds sway over the region. In the 2013 Assembly elections, the BJP swept the region, winning 57 out of the 66 seats, while the Congress managed to win just nine seats; five years later, in 2018, the Congress turned the tables on BJP and won 36 seats from the region which paved the way to form the government in the state after 15 years in opposition. What's more, Congress rebels contesting as independents won the remaining three seats and were part of the government.
To score a maximum number of seats from the region, Congress and the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) launched their poll campaigns during an event in Indore on Sunday, a nucleus of the Malwa-Nimar region.
Union home minister Amit Shah held a massive rally of BJP's booth-level workers - 'Vijay Sankalp Sammelan.'
A few kilometres away, two former CMs, Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath, besides ex-JNUSU president-turned-NSUI's national in-charge Kanhaiya Kumar addressed an Adivasi Yuva Mahapanchayat and Women Congress' event.
Shah, who took charge of the state Assembly elections after a survey showed that the BJP was losing the government in Madhya Pradesh, visited the state thrice in the last three weeks and took marathon meetings till late at night with the senior party leaders.
Speaking at a rally, he appealed to the booth workers to not only win in the 2023 Assembly polls but also the 29 parliamentary seats in 2024 to make Narendra Modi prime minister for the third time in a row. There were gatherings of around 40 of the 66 seats of the region.
"PM Narendra Modi is known as the 'messiah of the poor' across the country due to the welfare works done for the poor people, but the Congress, which ruled the country for 70 years, didn't do anything for the poor. Besides, the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh stopped 51 pro-poor welfare schemes after retaining the power in 2018," he said.
"In 2019, the people of MP gave 28 out of the 29 Lok Sabha seats in the state to the BJP. In 2024, give all the 29 seats to Modi ji," Shah said, expressing confidence that the BJP will retain power in the state.
Hitting out at Congress, he said, "Congress pampered Article 370 like its own child for 70 years, but PM Modi revoked it and linked Kashmir with India. Can anyone vote for Congress, which opposed revocation of Article 370 by PM Modi?" he asked the booth workers.
Projecting PM Modi as protector of the Hindus, he said, "It was only PM Modi who revived shrines in India after Devi Ahilyadevi Holkar (who ruled Malwa-Nimar region from Indore)." He cited the building of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, the Kashi Vishwanath and Mahakal temple corridors and gold work at Somnath temple.
During his speech, he also invoked the issue of the Ram Temple, nationalism, the attack from Pakistan and saving the lives of 130 crore people by providing a free COVID-19 vaccine.
Launching an attack on the 15-month of Kamal Nath government, he said, "In just one and a half years of the Kamal Nath government, more than 18,000 class-I officers were transferred. Only one industry started with the help of middlemen -the 'transfer industry'," he said.
CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan told the booth workers that the benefits of Ladli Behna Yojana would only continue till I held the post of chief minister. If Congress came to power, it would shut all the welfare schemes.
Malwa-Nimar society is a unique mix of agrarian and industrial. Indore is the industrial capital of central India. Politically, the religious town of Ujjain is at the heart of the region. Mandsaur is the epicentre of farmer agitations that shook the erstwhile BJP government on June 6, 2017. Its importance became evident when the then Congress president Rahul Gandhi kicked off the 2018 Assembly campaign from Mandsaur and announced a farm loan waiver.
The BJP has a stronghold in the Malwa region as it's home of the veteran BJP leader like Kushabhau Thackrey, the late former president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, who is credited with giving the state's organisational structure a steel frame, as well as the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Sunderlal Patwa, Kailash Joshi, and Virendra Saklecha.
The Congress, however, has traditionally held sway in tribal districts of the region like Dhar, Jhabua, Alirajpur, Barwani and Ratlam. Yet, in 2014 and 2019, the region gave all eight parliamentary seats to the BJP.
A few kilometres away at Nakshatra Garden in Indore, the Congress leaders were mocking the BJP's 18-year 'misrule' at 'Tribal Youth Mahapanchayat'. The main purpose of this rally was to consolidate the votes of tribal youths who voted for the Congress in 2018 and helped win 36 seats.
Nath slammed the BJP for failing on most of the fronts in the last 18 years of rule and sought the support of the tribal youngsters to help win the upcoming assembly polls.
"The crime against tribal people is highest in the country; recruitment scams like patwari and police recruitment have also duped the youngsters."
"The tribal youngsters need to learn to raise their voice to claim their rights," he said, adding that Madhya Pradesh belongs to tribal people, but now, they are being lured and threatened to allot and cancel their 'patta' (a piece of government land) to get their votes," he lamented.
Mocking the announcement of the Chief Minister in which he declared to distribute footwear to Tendupatta collectors (under Mukhyamantri Charan Paduka Yojana), Nath said, 'Make correct use of shoes and slippers, the BJP is offering to you in the upcoming polls."
The Congress leaders have also admitted all 20 demands raised by the tribal youths in the Mahapanchayat, which include a probe into patwari and police recruitment scams, developing residential schools and hostels and giving fair opportunities in jobs and private sectors to the tribal youngsters.
Taking a dig over the frequent visit by Shah to Madhya Pradesh, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Sunday said that since the Madhya Pradesh BJP's leadership was "hopeless and inefficient", Shah had to visit the state and take charge of the Assembly elections.
"Shah's visit to the state proves the inefficiency of the chief ministers during the Bharatiya Janata Party's 20-year rule in the state."
NSUI President Kanhaiya Kumar, who came to Madhya Pradesh ahead of Assembly polls, thrilled the audience with his remark referring to Mahabharat, "My name is Kanhaiya, who killed Kansa mama."
Countering Home Minister Narottam Mishra, who called him anti-national for allegedly raising anti-national slogans in JNU, Kumar said, "His name is Narottam, but his deeds are 'Nikrshtatam' (worst)."
"Even though he governed the state for almost 20 years but asked questions like the opposition leader, he had time to watch the attire of actresses but not the women. He is a home minister of a state which tops in crime against women in the country."
While Congress believes it has a feel of the pulse of the region and is going big on its farm loan waiver, free electricity to farmers and waiver of old bills, Rs 1500 under Nari Samman Yojana, LPG at Rs 500 and restoring the OPS, BJP hopes to ride the wave of nationalism, PM Modi and his pro-poor policies and Ladli Behna Yojana. Under the scheme, over 1.26 crore women received Rs 1000 in their accounts from June 10, 2023.
(With PTI inputs)
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