Events in quick succession rather than issues have kept the otherwise drab electioneering alive in Madhya Pradesh where 13 of the total of 29 seats go to the polls in the first phase on Thursday.
First, BJP stalwart Sushwa Swaraj’s maiden entry from Vidisha and state Congress chief Suresh Pachouri’s refusal to contest from his well nurtured Hoshangabad seat dominated poll debates.
Then the denial of Congress tickets to Arjun Singh’s son Ajay Singh from Satna and daughter Veena Singh from Sidhi was hotly discussed.
After this Veena Singh burst onto the scene, contesting from Sidhi as an Independent.
Following this was the murder of Makhan Lal Jatav, Congress MLA from Gohad, a segment of the Bhind Lok Sabha seat, rocked the state.
The murder was soon pushed into the background after a disgruntled former BJP youth wing leader flung a wooden sandal at LK Advani.
So, it has largely been individuals who have dominated the campaign in this state.
It was only last week that the BJP suddenly raised the pitch on price rise following the high command’s directive to take up the issue. But the volatility in the commodity market (sugar prices went up and down fast in the last 15 days) prevented the issue becoming a major poll plank. The Congress’s poll strategy, if any, is nowhere to be seen. State Congress chief Suresh Pachouri’s men are controlling the party’s poll management without support from other big leaders. All other parties have become virtually insignificant.