Monday, November 03, 2008

Poll bugle sounded in Madhya Pradesh

Wheels and fortunes leading to Shaymla hills, which house the coveted residence of Madhya Pradesh CM, have started to roll in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

With the election commission announcing notification for holding polling in 230 constituencies in a single phase on November 27 the political atmosphere in the state has acquired the traditional vibrancy.

Shivraj Singh Chauhan is counting on good governance and development across the state, coupled with the global financial crisis, price rise and spurt in terrorist activities to help him keep Congress out of the state.

It has been secretly acknowledged even by the Congress leaders that Madhya Pradesh will be a difficult nut to crack. In case this happens, the one who would suffer the most will be former union minister and current PCC chief Suresh Pachori, as this might well spell doom for his political career.

The Congress could have reaped political mileage if only it would have properly highlighted the numerous corruption cases that have cropped up against many BJP leaders in the state.

At present Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and five other ministers of his cabinet are facing corruption charges. The CM is facing a case under Section 420 of the IPC for favoring a business house.

The former Health minister Ajay Bishnoi had to quit after Income Tax raids were conducted at his brothers’ residence and following his involvement in health scam.

The CAG report has pressed several corruption charges against the PWD and IT minister Kailash Vijayvargiya. Similarly, Revenue minister Kamal Patel has been charged with disproportionate wealth. A PIL raising these issues are pending in the Jabalpur High Court.

Irrigation minister Anup Mishra - he is the nephew of former PM Atal Vihari Vajpayee - used his powers to rent helicopter for personal use while the rent was paid from the state exchequer. The PHE minister Chaudhary Chandrabhan Singh is also under scanner for misusing his position and acquiring properties in his constituency. Chhindwara. Senior leader and Agriculture and Cooperatives minister Gopal Bhargava shot into limelight when he equated them with 'beggars'.

Similarly the Congress has still not been able to decide whether to politicize the arrest of Pragya Singh Thakur alias Sadhvi Purna Chetnanand Giri who was arrested for allegedly being a part of the Malegaon bomb blast.

A section of leaders feel that already the stigma of being soft on terror is making it difficult for leaders to answer their voters and they feel that raising Pragya’s issues may back fire and alienate the already discontent majority voters.

BJP has more or less taken care of countering the anti-incumbency wave by following the Gujarat model and neutralizing the damage by denying tickets to candidates whose report cards as sitting MLAs in the past five years were not found upto the mark.

As many as 78 sitting MLAs have been given tickets, while 28 have been denied keeping in view the anti-incumbency factor. Sources said that few more sitting MLAs might be dropped in the second list.

The experiment has worked well for the BJP in Gujarat, where as many as 49 of the 127 sitting MLAs were denied ticket.

The only issue on which both the Congress and BJP seem to agree is that this time the BJP will not be able win as substantially as it had in 2003, when it bagged 173 of the total 230 seats. The 170 plus seat in 2003 had more to do with two waves which were working simultaneously- the ‘Uma Bharti wave’ and the huge discontent against Digvijay Singh for his 10 years of not so good governance.

The ‘lesser’ parties like Uma Bharti’s BJS, the BSP , the GGP and the SP will also make sure that BJPs tally decreases. Though BJS doesn’t have a very past good record , but this time Uma Bharti has given her everything and this may result in her getting a pie from the cake. Similarly GGP may well increase its tally in the state with the party allotting tickets to Brahmin candidates in region of Rewa.

In case of a hung assembly, which for some doesn’t appear to be a too distinct possibility,these parties may well decide who sits in the opposition.

All in all it’s an election that holds better opportunity for speculators and expert commentators with room for many ‘ifs’ and more ‘buts’.

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