NATIONAL

BJP banks on sympathy factor in Indore

Anita Joshua

INDORE: With neither the Bharatiya Janata Party nor the Congress having anything new to say during the electoral discourse in the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, it is the reputation of three Ministers in the Shivraj Singh Chauhan government that is generating whatever little interest there is in next week’s election.

Nothing remarkable in a district the size of Indore having three Ministers in the reckoning, except that two of them are dead and the third has moved out of a safe seat to test the water in a segment the Congress held on to in 2003 despite the surge of opinion against it.

In the case of the deceased Education Minister Lakshman Singh Goud and Forest Minister Prakash Sonkar, the baton has been passed on to their wives. Public Works Department Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya has moved from his bastion of Indore-2 to Dr. Ambedkarnagar-Mhow.

While the BJP is making no bones about its trying to cash in on the sympathy for the two women, there are different versions on why Mr. Vijayvargiya has moved to Dr. Ambedkarnagar-Mhow.

Party workers officially claim that he was sent there to quell a possible rebellion as there were at least four serious contenders, representing different communities, for the seat.

Add to this the PWD Minister’s chief ministerial aspirations which, according to some, encouraged him to “abdicate” his safe seat to his close associate Ramesh Mandola and take on the Congress in Dr. Ambedkarnagar-Mhow, where it secured just 2.7 per cent more votes than the BJP in 2003. Barring the 1998 and 2003 elections, Mhow has been a BJP stronghold since 1985.

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