In Madhya Pradesh Bypolls, A Prestige Battle Ahead Of State Elections

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia in a road show ahead of Kolaras bypoll on Thursday

Kolaras, Madhya Pradesh:  Bypolls in Madhya Pradesh are being seen as a prestige battle for two men — Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan and his arch-rival Jyotiraditya Scindia of Congress. Both are sweating it out in the field, quite literally, while Mr Chouhan is leaving no stone unturned for winning the fight months before the state goes to elections, Mr Scindia is asking the chief minister, where was he during the last five years.

This battle is seen by many as a direct contest between Mr Chouhan and Mr Scindia. Campaigning in full throttle for the bypolls, the chief minister’s mode of travel is a BJP favourite – rath.  He emerges from the rath with a hydraulic lift to ask for votes from the voters of Mungawali constituency. His pitch – give us five months, the government will deliver five years of work.

The former royal and ex-lawmaker from Guna, Mr Scindia, too is determined to turn fortunes of his party ahead of the state polls.  His convoy passes through village after village in Piprai, Keshopur, Khoksi and only one chant reverberates in the air “Maharaj Ki Jai”.

Mungaoli and Kolaras seats were vacated after the death of Congress lawmakers from these seats. This two assembly segments are also part of Guna, and combative Mr Scinda has put his prestige on the line. In every rally he repeats: “It’s not between Congress and BJP – it is a Scindia vs Shivraj battle.”

However CM Shivraj is in on mood to make this poll battle a personal one, he says, “I am not here for a wrestling match, I am here to ask for votes for five months.” Mr Scindia counters by saying, “Where were you for five years?”

Madhya Pradesh will go to polls at the end of this year, a BJP bastion for nearly 15 years now and CM Shivraj is toiling hard to counter anti-incumbency.

The chief minister himself has addressed over 40 rallies and done over 10 road shows for the bypolls. Adding to that, 18 cabinet ministers are also accompanying Mr Chouhan for the campaign. However, the chief minister doesn’t feel that bringing the cabinet along with him is inexact. He says, “Yes they are ministers but party workers too.”

On the other side, Mr Scindia is not to be outdone either. Nor taking this family bastion for granted, the Congress leader has addressed over 75 rallies and participated in 15 road shows.

He is exuding confidence, the crowds have turned up in huge numbers for his rallies and he feels that come winter of 2018 the BJP will be uprooted from the state. He says, “Why wait for six months, I am saying lets have the assembly polls now.”

While voting for the bypolls will be held tomorrow, the results will be declared on February 28. Congress is leading by 2-0 after winning Ater and Chitrakoot bypolls, BJP is desperate to level the score before the finals in November.

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