Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Madhya Pradesh political analysis-March 2008

Bharatiya Janata Party emerged victorious on all the three Rajya Sabha seats from Madhya Pradesh in a biennial RS polls held here. All the three contestants of the BJP, Raghunandan Sharma, Prabhat Jha and Maya Singh emerged victorious by securing 58 votes each. Independent candidate Vivek Tankha, who had the support of Congress and the Samajwadi legislature, was defeated as he could muster only 51 votes.

Earlier the political atmosphere in Madhya Pradesh witnessed hectic activity in view of the impending Rajya Sabha elections. After a lot of deliberations and meeting the BJP was finally able to arrive at a consensus on the name of BJP Vice President and its Mahila Morcha state in charge Maya Singh, senior leader Raghunandan Singh a former renegade who was wooed back into the BJP from the BJS and Secretary Prabhat Jha who was the editor of party mouthpiece ‘Kamal Sandesh’.

Samajwadi Party MLA from Lanjhi constituency Kishore Samrite caused a flutter when he accused the Congress leaders including PCC chief Suresh Pachori of offering him bribe so as to vote in favour of independent candidate Vivek Tankha. Samrite was later suspended from the party.

Tankha who was earlier Advocate general when the Congress was in power under Digvijay Singh, claimed to have the support of the other smaller parties like the SP and the GGP. It’s no secret that the whole election management of Tankha was being managed and supervised by Union Minister of Commerce Kamal Nath.

The state is going to witness another bypoll which is scheduled to be held on the 12th of April. The Betul bypoll was necessitated due to the death of BJP MP Vijay Kumar Khandelwal. Congress is being represented by Sukhdev Panse who also represents Masod in the Assembly. BJP has given ticket to Hemant Khandelwal who is the son of Vijay Khandelwal. Dr.Sunilam, president of the state unit of the Samajwadi Party and MLA from one of the assembly segments-Multai, has also filed his papers for the Betul seat.

Betul will be the last election before the assembly polls and all the parties have mounted their efforts to emerge victorious and go into poll mode with a positive outlook. BJP has pitched in eight ministers who have been made in-charge of separate assembly segments of the Betul Lok Sabha constituency. Recently Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visited Betul twice and announced attractive sops for them including construction work of more than Rs 100 crore.

Congress goes into the poll with two wins under its belt including victories in Khargone Lok Sabha and Sanver assembly bypolls.

Many of the high profile candidates who were trying for a ticket form Betul including former MP Ghufran-e-Azam, Aslam Sher Khan, NSUI president Hemant Vagdare and Nakul Nath, son Kamalnath were left disappointed. Though sources close to Kamalnath have suggested that he decided to pull out the race as he wanted to play safe and plans to launch his son in the next assembly elections which are just eight months away from Chindwaara which has been his bastion for more than 20 years

Political pundits have already termed the Boston University graduate Nakul Nath, who recently joined the party as a potential challenge to Jyotiraditya Scindia and Arjun Singh’s son Ajay Singh. Ajay Singh was recently appointed Election campaign in-charge to the run-up to the state election.

The newly appointed state PCC chief Suresh Pachori got a glimpse of the tough times that is expected from the party cadre when PCC general secretary and spokesperson Manak Agrawal vacated his office situated in the state congress building in a huff. This was after Manak found his name missing in the list of the newly declared executive committee comprising 12 vice presidents, 17 general secretaries, 1 treasurer, 26 secretaries, and 50 working committee members.

After Manak it was the turn of Gufran-e-Azam, who resigned from PCC state executive as a member. The issue has threatened to turn into a major embarrassment for Pachori after Madhya Pradesh Congress legislator and Vice president of State Congress Committee Arif Aqeel lambasted Gufran-e-Azam’s resignation.

Gufran-e-azam in recent years has lost more political weight than he has gained. Azam at the time of Digvijay singh had a strong political clout and was considered close to Sonia Gandhi but with the emergence of other leaders belonging to the minority section in the capital like Areef Aqeel and his inability to make an impact on the electorate has led to his stature has being reduced.

It has also been reported from some quarters that the BJP is making efforts to get firebrand leader Uma Bharati back into the party. The move, notwithstanding opposition from certain sections within the party, has gained ground with the assessment that the firebrand leader, who is currently running her own outfit, the Bhartiya Jana Shakti (BJS), might cut BJP’s votes in the October/November polls if she does not get back into the party-fold.

In the first step towards by any party in furtherance to the state assembly election, BSP became the first party in the state to declare it candidates for assembly elections that are eight months away. The BSP has decided to apply the same successful formula of social engineering that was instrumental in its victory in Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati led BSP announced the party candidates for 62 seats and not surprisingly the maximum number of seats have been allotted to Brahmins followed by the Rajputs and the OBCs.

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