Political parties vying for the Maihar assembly seat, a part of Satna Lok Sabha constituency in Madhya Pradesh, brought out their big guns on the final day of campaigning on Thursday.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan continued his third consecutive day campaigning for former Congress legislator, now Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate, Narayan Tripathi and touted various development works undertaken by the government in the area.
Strategically, the BJP will be looking to bring in its fold a substantial part of the about 20,000 schedule caste voters, with minister of state for general administration Lal Singh Arya camping in the town for almost a week.
Also, on Thursday, a delegation of the SC community met the chief minister seeking his intervention to ensure supply of water in the area.
For Congress, the Maihar bypoll, slated for February 13, is a prestige issue as it won the seat in 2013 despite the BJP getting over two-thirds majority in the state assembly. Looking to consolidate backward-class votes in the Brahmin-dominated area, the Congress has fielded Manish Patel, formally a member of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia too was in Maihar for a roadshow that culminated in a public meeting at Vishnu Sagar.
Referring to Tripathi’s defection to the BJP at the meeting, the Guna MP said the people of Maihar will have to decide whether this “betrayal” was acceptable. He said if the people do not vote for the Congress, such betrayals would continue.
Scindia also fired a salvo at the CM saying the government only made announcements but no development was visible on the ground.
After Thursday, both Tripathi and Patel plan to conduct a door-to-door outreach campaign.
Among other campaigners in Maihar on the final day were several BSP leaders from Uttar Pradesh who were there to support party candidate Ram Lakhan Singh.