Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Chhattisgarh political analysis- March 2008

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Chhattisgarh is confident of retaining power but the party high command doesn’t seem to share the same enthusiasm.

The appointment of senior BJP leader and master strategist Ravishankar Prasad as the in-charge of election affairs in the poll-bound Chhattisgarh is reported to be an overt signal that the party high command is hesitating to buy the assurance of the state leaders that all roads are leading to the BJP retaining the power in the state.

Chhattisgarh is scheduled to go to the state polls in November-December. The biggest challenge for the saffron brigade is to win the confidence of the voters to continue with the second spell in power in the tribal-dominated state. The state BJP leadership is expressing confidence of winning the electoral battle in the state for two reasons.

First, the development works that it has initiated in the state alongwith the government sponsored scheme of selling a kilogram of rice for just Rs 3 to over 3.4 million families living below poverty line has resulted in a high-increase in the vote bank.

Secondly, the BJP is hoping that the fractured opposition in the state due to the infighting in Congress following severe differences in its ranks and files will help BJP in consolidating in areas which traditionally have been Congress bastion.

Prasad’s taking over the command to propel and prepare the party cadre to the ensuing elections is seen as a major political development. The state already has a national general-secretary, Dharmendra Pradhan, as an in-charge of party affairs in the state. By bestowing onus to senior leader like Prasad, the BJP high command has send a clear signal that the election in Chhattisgarh is not a cake walk as the local leaders have been projecting.

The leaders in Chhattisgarh have reasons to play the development down. “The party high command has appointment in-charge in all the states that will go to the polls,” explained a senior BJP leader. But the leader failed to address why heavy-weight leader like Prasad has been given the responsibility of one state when Venkaiah Naidu is doing the same job for two states—Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, which comparatively are bigger states than Chattisgarh.

According to party insiders, the party is of the opinion that elections in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka has to be handled with more importance. That could be the reason why Prasad has been given the responsibility of Chhattisgarh state so that he could fully concentrate in one state while assigning Arun Jaitley to Karnataka.

Prasad landed in the state on his 3 day maiden visit on March 27. During his stay, he tried talking to different groups and get the pulse of the general feeling in the party circle. In the absence of Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh, he chaired the meeting of core group and interacted with the senior members. His one-to-one meeting with ministers and legislators provided him more information was seen as an effort to get the exact picture of the government and party organization.

Although the Bihar political stalwart gave clean chit to the Chief Minister and reiterated his party President Rajnath Singh’s stand that the state will go to the polls under Dr Raman Singh’s leadership, Prasad knows that much is needed to done if the party has to emerge victorious.

Prasad will also have to work hard to reduce the rift that has been created between the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) cadre and the government. RSS alleges that its suggestion are not being heeded by the state government.

Amidst resentment against the government and organization at the ground level, ticket distribution will be another daunting task for the party’s election in-charge for the state. Prasad has already hinted that getting a ticket to contest the polls on BJP ticket will not be as easy as he will scan each leader including the sitting legislators before the list is finalized.

Prasad has already indicated his stand on the matter to all the leaders waiting in line to enter the Chhattisgarh Vidhan Sabha. A former Congress leader, who crossed over to the BJP and enjoys a good support among the Oriya voters, came with a big crowd to meet Prasad at the state guesthouse. As his supporters raised slogan, Prasad responded: “Shouting slogans will not ensure party ticket. One has to do good work”.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...