Assembly elections in the state are five months’ away, but all the major political parties including the BJP, the Congress, the BSP, Uma Bharti led BJS and the NCP have already initiated their efforts to chalk out strategy for the polls.
Union Civil Aviation Minister and Nationalist Congress Party's Madhya Pradesh in-charge Praful Patel who was in the capital recently said his party would contest 80 to 100 seats in the state's assembly polls. Though experts feel that the NCP and Congress will go for a tie-up as then they will have a better chance of upsetting the claims of BJP.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will also be playing a bigger role in the forthcoming elections and who knows it may outdo its own expectations. The districts bordering Uttar Pradesh are in the influence of BSP and it might play an important role there. The BSP has already launched special drive to gear up for assembly elections. It has been conducting conventions of different communities throughout the state, in view of implementing 'social engineering' like in Uttar Pradesh. Besides targeting other upper castes, the party is concentrating on Brahmin community.
The party has already conducted conventions of different segments of the society in different parts of the state. Besides, the BSP has become the first party in the state to declare it candidates for assembly elections that are five months away. Following its election strategy, the BSP has already declared its candidates in 62 constituencies. Of them, maximum number of seats has been allotted to Brahmins, Rajputs are on the second, while OBCs are on the third. This has indicated the strategy of the BSP as how it is going in polls in November.
State president of BSP Bhujbal Singh Ahirwar, who’s party decided not to contest civic body polls, is upbeat after the victory of a former BSP worker in the recently held the Malajkhand municipality polls as an independent.
The BJP on the other hand after having introduced 33 percent reservation for women in the party, is working overtime to woo women voters. The party is giving final touches to specially designed campaign to target women. Conventions of women are being convened at district-level and they are being informed about women oriented schemes introduced by the State Government.
Going by the past records of the last assembly elections, there were 3.79 crore voters in the state out of which 1.81 voters used their franchise including 1.12 crore females. The voting percentage in the election was 57.25, which included 62.14 percent female votes. Sensing the important of women voters, the BJP has prepared a strategy to target women across the state. The party has prepared date-wise programmes for women conventions in each district. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is touring constituencies, is addressing women informing about party’s attitude towards fairer sex. Chouhan has already addressed over a dozen such meetings.
In past four years, the State Government has launched several schemes oriented towards the women. The most recent being 'Usha Kiran Yojana'. Laxmi Yojana has been a grand success and it has been implemented in other states as well. Besides the Laxmi Yojana other schemes like the Janani Express Yojana, Janani Suraksha Yojana, have helped both the women and the BJP.
Chouhan is working on a strategy that walks on the line of striking a rapport with smaller but influential social groups in addition of holding caste and sub-caste panchayats. In the recent past, he has already orgnaised panchayats of Kotwars, women, sports persons, physically challenged, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, farmers, youths and others. The decision of giving pension to MISA detainees was also one of those decisions that may not seem important in the present but it becomes vital when one considers that this not only helped the BJP in gaining support from over 2,000 families but also generated goodwill among the middle and lower class working group.
While the BJP continues to chip away at the smaller groups and working towards strengthening and broadening its support base, the main opposition Congress is still struggling to present a united face of the party and looking for 'big issues' which till now has eluded them . The recent corruption charges against one of the BJP ministers came as a god-send gift, but by the time Congress could wake up and grab the chance, the minister resigned and the issue was consigned to flames.
The visit of Sonia Gandhi did nothing spectacular to lift the dropping shoulders of the state Congress workers. Suresh Pachouri , the state Congress chief it seems is still grappling with the inner intricacies. Congress’s chance of a victory in Madhya Pradesh, like in Chhattisgarh appears grim.