Friday, June 06, 2008

Madhya Pradesh political analysis May

On the one hand the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has swung into election mode by attacking on Congress led UPA, while on the other the state Congress has hardly got its campaign off the ground. Over the past one week, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the BJP have been busy attacking the Centre on price rise, and an alleged supply of substandard wheat and several other issues.

The BJP election in-charge for MP, Venkaiah Naidu has made it clear to party workers in no ambigious term that corrupt image is something the party would just not tolerate. Naidu has time and again cited the precedence of Gujarat where the clean image of the government and its developmental agenda won it assembly polls hands down and he has reiterated that the party would not want to compromise on the formula.

This new ‘clean-image’ formula took its first toll on Health Minister Ajay Vishnoi after he was asked by the BJP central leadership to resign after his brother’s premises was raided by the Income Tax Deprtment in the wake of alleged medicine purchase scam by the state health department.

More heads could roll as three present ministers of the cabinet have been charged with allegedly demanding donations from state officials. This include forest minister Kunwar Vijay Shah, Minister of state Harendejeet Singh `Babbu’ and Fisheries minister Moti Kashyap. In all the cases the complainer has been government servants and bureaucrats.

According to sources a list is being chalked out to ensure that the `tainted’ faces are distanced from the government as soon as possible so that by the time the electioneering is at peak, the negative impact of these ministers are dulled. Many of the sitting MLAs are also sure to lose tickets, but the tainted ministers are naturally on top of the agenda.

Rumors have it that at least three ministers might soon be dropped from the state cabinet and the one facing the sharpest axe is revenue minister Kamal Patel. Six ministers have reportedly being listed as liability on clean image of government but the proximity of three of them to the senior leaders in Delhi might save the day for them.In such situation, the party is likely to take some stern steps to distance itself from the black sheep and give its best shot at winning the second consecutive term in MP.

The speculation that Uma Bharti would soon make a comeback to BJP was finally laid to rest after BJP Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani personally managed to thwart the proposal of re-entry of the firebrand leader into the party folds, putting such conditions that would certainly be rejected by the former MP Chief Minister.

During a high level core committee meeting, Advani overruled party president Rajnath Singh’s proposal to let Uma Bharti return.The party stalwart – who was instrumental in mentoring Bharti into a national leader – insisted that Uma could return only on condition of forgetting Madhya Pradesh politics and providing consent of contesting next Lok Sabha election from Uttar Pradesh.

Advani is upset that Uma, who was sacked from party for indiscipline, has not mended her ways and continues to attack leaders like Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj. Rajnath’s interest in getting Uma back was to build a strong counter force to the second generation leaders, but failing to marshal enough support in the core committee, he decided to forget the proposition for the time being.

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