By Sandeep Pauranik ;
Total of 355 candidates, including 12 Ministers, are in the fray for by-polls to 28 seats in the State
THE by-elections for 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh have seen many issues coming to the fore during the campaigning yet the silence of the voter has kept all parties and their candidates on tenterhooks before the last vote is cast on November 3. At the same time all parties are confident of their victory in the by-polls. A total of 355 candidates, including 12 Ministers, are in the fray for by-polls to 28 seats in the State. Around 33,000 security personnel have been deployed in 19 districts where these constituencies fall and all preparations have been made to hold free and fair polls, the official said.
The revolt by 25 Congress MLAs who left the party in the State brought down the Kamal Nath-led Congress Government, hence the by-elections. The Congress has called the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ‘traitors’ and ‘scam-tainted’ while the BJP has targeted former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath for ‘misrule’ during the 15-month tenure of his Government. The BJP’s poll campaign revolved around the work done during the current Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s 15-year reign and the transformation of the State since the last seven months after toppling the Kamal Nath Government earlier this year.
The BJP’s poll plank has been development and welfare schemes for the poor and deprived sections of society. Both the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress are confident that the people will vote based on their respective poll candidates and their party’s performance. Congress MLA from Chhatarpur, Alok Chaturvedi, said this election is primarily about the voters ‘deceived by the BJP’. BJP’s chief spokesperson Deepak Vijayvargiya said, “This by-election is being held on the failed promises made by the Congress because it came to power making several promises, including farm loan waiver, employment to youth but never fulfilled those promises. That is why former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and his supporters left the party. The voter will teach a lesson to the Congress on November 3.”
Analysts say the voters for all the 28 seats in the State are not expressing their views directly but say that political horse-trading is taking place. In this situation, people are in a dilemma whom to vote for? The voter is asking what will happen to the development of a specific region if the candidate from a particular party wins the seat from the region but fails to form a Government in the State. That is why it is yet not able to decide whom to vote for. Political analyst Ravindra Vyas said in the ongoing by-elections, the Congress accused the BJP of ‘sell-outs’ and called them ‘traitors’ which made headlines but how much impact such political slogans will have on turning votes in favour of the Congress is yet a matter of conjecture.