Has BJP already conceded its defeat in Madhya Pradesh?

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Surprisingly, erstwhile Scindia aide, KP Yadav, who joined BJP just before the Assembly elections last year, is BJP’s ‘trump card’ to demolish Scindia bastion in Guna.


With high-profile seats like Bhopal, Guna and Vidisha being grossly mismanaged by BJP Central Election Committee, ground-level workers as well as several state BJP leaders seems to be on the back foot. This election might turn out to be a real ‘poll-khol’ for the BJP.

In December 2018, Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) lost its government in Madhya Pradesh by five seats. Though BJP’s vote share was 0.1 percent more than the Congress, yet it won 109 seats, while Congress formed the government with 114 seats. Almost five months after the close defeat for BJP in the Assembly elections, the party is now writing a script for yet another election defeat in the state – this time a bigger and bitter one. In the last Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had won 27 of the 29 seats in the state, however, this year BJP is even finding it difficult to field ‘winnable’ candidates on several important seats.

While, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah are on a fast-track tour to ensure they are able to bring Modi Sarkar back at the centre, but workers and leaders in the state are on the back foot. Going by the choice of candidates on crucial seats like Guna, Bhopal and Vidisha as well as reluctance of several sitting MPs and senior BJP leaders to contest elections from their traditional stronghold parliamentary constituencies, it becomes amply clear that party has no plan or strategy in place for elections in Madhya Pradesh.

Guna provides a perfect example, how BJP decided to commit a political suicide. Instead of giving a tough fight to Jyotiraditya Scindia of Congress, BJP has decided to give him the victory trophy even before the election. Guna has always been a stronghold of Scindia family and even Modi wave failed to blossom a lotus here in 2014 election. For several weeks, BJP state poll panel, kept suspense on finalizing the candidate for Guna, presumably to look for a ‘powerful’ candidate who can give a tough fight to Scindia at his safest den. Eventually, the party leaders realised the ‘invincibility’ of Scindia in Guna and decided to give ticket to a former Congress leader! Erstwhile Scindia aide, KP Yadav, who joined BJP just before the Assembly elections and also lost from Mungaoli constituency last year, is BJP’s ‘trump card’ to demolish Scindia bastion in Guna. According to sources, “BJP leaders Narendra Singh Tomar and Shivraj Singh Chauhan are behind Yadav’s ‘sudden’ appearance in the poll fray in Guna. Being an ‘outsider’ in BJP, he has little chance to get support from BJP workers in the area and the election is just a formality for both BJP as well as Congress.” Interestingly, sitting BJP MP from Gwalior, Narendra Singh Tomar, himself has shifted to Morena, due to fear of facing a complete rout in Gwalior. He is also not much convinced about fighting the election. Recently, while interacting with media in Shivpuri, he said “It is not important to become a Member of Parliament. What’s important is that one must work to strengthen the party.”

Bhopal is another political battleground, where no BJP leader was willing to contest against Congress stalwart Digvijay Singh. With no other option left, BJP had to bring in Sadhvi Pragya. Within 2-days of announcing her name, BJP got the taste of their misdemeanor, when she maligned slain police officer Hemant Karkare and BJP had to do firefighting to douse the widespread criticism. Probably, BJP was thinking of creating a ‘Yogi effect’ in MP with the Sadhvi, but failed to realize that Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have different socio-political base and a saffron-clad Sadhvi might not simply means garnering more hindu votes.

Even on traditionally powerful seats like Vidisha and Indore, BJP stalwarts like Sushma Swaraj and Sumitra Mahajan are not fighting elections. Eight-time MP from Indore Sumitra Mahajan, who is 76, has decided to not contest the upcoming elections citing ‘age-related decision’ of the party that no candidate above 75-years of age would be given ticket. As a result, no candidate has been named till now. Vidisha is another prestigious seat for BJP, which was once represented by Atal Bihari Vajpayee as well. With External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj not ‘willing’ to contest the elections this year, Vidisha is one more vacant space for BJP from where they have fielded a candidate Ramakant Bhargav, whose only political achievement till now has been his proximity to Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

With high-profile seats like Bhopal, Guna and Vidisha being grossly mismanaged by BJP Central Election Committee, ground-level workers as well as several state BJP leaders seems to be on the back foot.  This election might turn out to be a real ‘poll-khol’ for the BJP.

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