Campaign drums yet to be heard in Madhya Pradesh

November 13th, 2008 - 10:20 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyBhopal, Nov 13 (IANS) Madhya Pradesh will go to the polls exactly a fortnight from now but the campaign drums are yet to be heard.Activity related to the elections has so far been mainly protests outside the state offices of both the main rivals — the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress — over ticket distribution.

But the clear sign of an election being round the corner was the filing of nominations by the contestants of both the parties including the rebels.

The smaller parties, in contrast, are active, but they mean little for they do not have any presence in the state. These parties include the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP), Rashtriya Samanta Dal (RSD), Janata Dal (United) and the Natonalist Congress Party.

“We have no option but to choose between the BJP and the Congress since voting for any other party’s candidate would be throwing away our vote,” Ramesh Baghel, a leader of slum dwellers in Bhopal, told IANS.

“Even if the candidate of any other party wins, it would still be a waste for legislators sitting in the opposition cannot get any major work done in the constituency except from their own fund,” he rued.

While the Congress is yet to launch its campaign, the BJP leaders have been left aghast at their failure to gather crowds at public meetings of central leaders like Rajnath Singh in Bhopal, Anant Kumar in Sagar and Murli Manohar Joshi in Gwalior on the first day of their election campaign Monday.

The response to the public meetings was so poor that in Bhopal, Rajnath Singh had to skip it. This was on Monday and the party sought to cancel its daily media briefing Tuesday.

Senior Madhya Pradesh BJP leaders, including state president Narendra Singh Tomar and national general secretary Prabhat Jha, besides others, instead held a meeting to ponder whether their poll strategy had gone awry.

In contrast, the BJP campaign had been in full steam by around this time during the 2003 polls. Its main poll plank - the BSP (Bijli, Sadak, Pani) - had already caught the public attention and epitaph of the lO-year Digvijay Singh rule had been written.

Then, Uma Bharti’s characteristic ebullience also made a huge difference to the scenario.

The time has changed now. Uma Bharti, the chief architect of the BJP victory, is now a sworn enemy of the party and Digvijay Singh, the main target then, would have the world believe that he is a reluctant player now.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been thrust upon Bharati’s 2003 mantle but is unable to create that charisma.

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