New Delhi: The Congress is going to focus more on bypolls for 28 seats of Madhya Pradesh than on the Bihar Assembly elections. As far as Bihar is concerned, the Congress is dependent on Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
There are some sticking points on some seats between the two parties in Bihar. However, the issues are likely to be resolved soon. Though the Congress is going to add names of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the list of star campaigners for Bihar, the possibility of these leaders going there for campaigning in Assembly polls is less. According to sources, Congress is making preparations for two big rallies of Priyanka Vadra in some of the Assembly seats going to bypolls in Madhya Pradesh. Both the rallies may be held in the constituencies falling in the Gwalior region.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot will also participate in some rallies in the constituencies adjoining Rajasthan. Congress is said to be making all efforts to ensure its candidates’ victory in regions where Jyotiraditya Scindia commands clout. This strategy is aimed at settling political scores with Scindia. Congress’ attempt is also to convert these byelections as a Kamal Nath versus Scindia battle.
However, the BJP is, at the same time, sparing no efforts to woo the voters by announcing so many sops in the constituencies falling in the Gwalior region of Scindia’s clout. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has also made several announcements to woo the farmers. It is mandatory for Chouhan to win the byelections to run the government comfortably in the remaining part of the tenure.
Scindia had left Congress in March and joined BJP this year. This had resulted in fall of the Kamal Nath government and Shivraj Singh Chouhan had become Chief Minister with the help of Scindia supporter MLAs. Now it is a big challenge for him to ensure the victory of these MLAs who had left Congress with Scindia.
Both the Congress and the BJP have made these byelections a prestige issue. This is the reason why BJP and RSS are firmly behind Scindia. The BJP high command is also keeping a close watch over the bypolls, as it does not want to take any chances. In fact, BJP strategists, who were reportedly behind the efforts to destabilise the government in Rajasthan, had suffered a setback there after Gehlot had sailed through the crisis. The Congress is keen to give BJP a jolt in MP also more because of the impression that the “real strategists who are expert in toppling state governments actually come from Madhya Pradesh”.
Scindia, who is now in BJP, was said to be close to the Gandhi family. The Congress is keen to defeat Scindia’s supporter candidates. As part of the party’s strategy, Priyanka Vadra’s rallies have been planned in the Gwalior region. Ashok Gehlot will also be addressing rallies in MP where he will be explaining how the “BJP is toppling the elected governments” in the state and is thereby weakening democracy. The entire responsibility of the elections is on Kamal Nath who is running a campaign against the BJP.
It is expected that the dates for bypolls for 28 seats in MP will be announced on Monday or Tuesday. After this, electoral heat will rise, with Congress planning to intensify attack on Scindia and further its strategy to counter BJP. Though it is not easy to defeat Scindia in his citadel, the Congress is hopeful of some positive results this time. The Congress’ attempt is to defeat the ministers loyal to Scindia “so that he could be weakened”.