Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Madhya Pradesh- August

When Uma Bharti quit BJP 30 months back and announced the formation of her own party (Bhartiya Janshakti), political pundits predicted that she would give BJP a run for their money in the Central state of Madhya Pradesh. After all it was she who was wholly responsible for BJPs sweeping win over Congress in the previous state elections where Digvijay singh led Congress was completely routed.

But now seasons have changed and so have the predictions. After successfully defeating Congress, Uma Bharti conveniently forgot that it was the BJP wave that had played an important role in her fight. Not only MP, but Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan were also won convincingly.

She was made to think by her inner coterie that it was she who had led the BJP into power and without her BJP will find hard to survive. Nearly 2 and half years later, it’s her party that is finding hard to breathe. The maverick leader is learning the never ending political lessons the hard way.

Her party is on the brink of collapse just three-months before the Assembly election in the State. And the proverbial rats are jumping off the sinking ship. Recently her one of the most trusted confidant and party general secretary Bhagwandas Sabnani came back to the Bharatiya Janata Party fold.

Sabnani’s revolt came as a bolt of blue for Uma who had still not recovered from the twin shock of desertion of the then party national president Raghunandan Sharma who deserted her after he was promised a Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh with support of BJP. Before that party's national general secretary and former Union Minister Prahlad Patel too snapped his ties with Bhartiya Janshakti on issues of contesting the Gujarat state elections. And before that, it was Madan Lal Khurana, a former Bhartiya Janta Party Chief Minister who went back to BJP.

Those of few who are still in BJS are counting the days when the inevitable will happen and Uma too will crossover to BJP. Sources feel that the wait will be over by the time the dates for the state elections are announced.

Without Patel the party is under financial crisis and is heading for a major split. The Bhartiya Janashakti has witnessed mass scale desertions recently and paucity of funds and resources have ensured that the party workers will have to put no extra efforts to break the 30 months old ties when time calls.

Shivraj Singh Chauhan continues to enjoy the good luck that has been working for him from the day he took over as the CM. Chauhan who was the third CM after Uma Bharti and Babu Lal Gaur recently celebrated 1000 days in office.

Experts feel that with no major controversy, except the “Dumper deal” to court him, Chauhan has performed well in the run-up to the elections. The BSP ( Bijli – Sadak-Pani) which was the main issue in the previous election has been negated by the work carried out by his government. This has resulted in the opposition Congress futilely searching for an issue.

The various people friendly scheme that has been launched in the state like the Kanyadaan Yojana for marriage of poor girls, Ladli Laxmi Scheme for girl children and Annapurana Yojana for subsidized food grain, which has been quite a hit in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh too has ensued that Shivarj will have issues to share with the electorates once the electioneering begins.

Though some section feel that corruption has eaten away the political benefit that could have been gained as the ground level implementation has not been quite up to mark for the schemes to make their total impact. But with the CM putting his foot down before the code of conduct sets-in the desired result will soon trickle in.

Also the party on its part has asked its entire ministers to pay attention to the district that have been put under their charge and spend at least five days in week in these areas.

A high profile meeting of the top leaders of State Congress in Chinndwara on August 22 grabbed quite a few eyeballs in the state. Almost all of the senior leaders of the party including Kamalnath, Digvijay singh, Jamuna Devi, Jyotiaditya Scindia, Ajay Singh, V Narayan Swamy and Suresh Pachori were present at the meeting.

During the meeting Digvijay singh and Subhash Yadav caused a flutter among many feathers when they announced that they were in support of Kamal Nath being projected as the CM.

Later it was reported that the AICC has taken serious note of floating Nath’s candidature as future CM and summoned both Yadav and Singh. Union Minister of State Jyotiraditya Scindia too had strongly objected over the announcement. It is no secret that Scindia, Kamal Nath, state Congress President Suresh Pachauri and Ajay Singh, son of Union HRD minister Arjun Singh all are CM aspirants and they have started their efforts to see to it they get the coveted chair if the Congress wins power.

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