Madhya Pradesh Polls: Will Rahul Gandhi’s Rally in Budni Swing Tide in Congress’ Favour?
Bhopal: Amid the whirlwind election tours of star campaigners from the BJP and Congress in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, an election rally by Rahul Gandhi is coming up in Nasrullaganj in Budni, some 110 km from Bhopal, where CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan is pitted against former MPCC president Arun Yadav.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will be addressing the rally to help his party colleague Yadav win the polls and re-write history by defeating an ‘invincible’ Chouhan in his home turf.
The MP poll battle is being observed keenly in the political circles and people, including those in the Congress, are wondering if it would prove to be a cakewalk for Chouhan or a spirited Yadav will manage to defeat CM Shivraj.
When Yadav flanked by a smiling party colleague Rajmukar Patel, an MLA who won in Budni in 1993, landed in Bhopal on Thursday, he was brimming with confidence. “I am sure of my victory without any doubt,” said Yadav, who is in the city to submit a letter with MP Chief Electoral Officer, seeking measures to ensure free and fair polls in Budni.
Yadav reportedly wanted to contest from Khargone and former MLA Rajkuamr Patel was keen on his nomination from Budni, but the party decided to field Yadav against CM Shivraj in the last list of candidates.
Congress’ move is being seen as a ploy to confine CM Chouhan within his own constituency and to gain an edge in other seats. But Chouhan, perhaps sensing the plan, left the poll campaigning on the shoulders of his wife Sadhna and son Kartikeya, and is busy touring the rest of the state. “I won’t be visiting the constituency after today and it’s up to you to ensure a record win for me,” Chouhan told the party workers after filing nomination in Budni.
However, the Congress saw a chink in Chouhan’s armour after videos of voters giving an earful over a dearth of basic amenities to his wife and son during campaigning went viral. While the victory margin remained in CM Shivraj’s favour in the last few polls, the presence of Yadav — a prominent OBC leader who inherits the legacy of his father, former Deputy CM Subhash Yadav — has made things interesting.
The BJP has won the constituency seven times since the MP came into being, including in 1990, 2006, 2008 and 2013 through CM Shivraj. The Congress has won on five occasions, pulling of the last victory in 1998.