THE CONGRESS candidate for Pandhana by-election will be announced within two to three days, announced AICC general secretary and in charge of Madhya Pradesh affairs Narayan Swami, while talking to reporters at the Indore airport on Thursday morning.
Swami, who left for Pandhana along with State Congress president Subhash Yadav to assess the ground realities, said they would demand that Central forces be stationed at Pandhana during elections and also that officers from outside the State should be deputed to oversee the elections.
The Pandhana seat, which is reserved for Scheduled Caste candidate, fell vacant after sitting BJP MLA Kishorilal Verma was brutally murdered on the banks of Narmada in Omkareshwar on October 22.
Attributing rigging as the main reason behind the defeat of Congress candidates in Bada Malhera and Vidisha, Swami alleged that there was ‘large-scale booth capturing, rigging, misuse of official machinery to win the elections.’ He said that if free and fair elections had been conducted the Congress would have won, and added that despite the fraud committed by BJP, the Congress votes increased in both these elections. He said he had met the Election Commission in this regard and would meet it again.
Dubbing the BJP as an anti-farmer party, he said that the State Government had failed to ers who had suffered natural calamities – be it excessive rainfall or drought like situation in the Bundelkhand region. Evading a direct reply on a possible change in Congress leadership in the State, Swami said that while he could not stop ‘leaders from Madhya Pradesh rushing to Delhi, the decision on such an issue finally rested with Sonia Gandhi.’
On the ongoing dispute between former MLA Satyanarayan Patel and District Congress president Hemant Pal over holding of Kisan Rally, Swami said that the final decision would be taken by the District Congress. While Patel wants the rally to be held at Depalpur, which is his stronghold, Pal wants to hold the rally at Betma. State Congress president Subhash Yadav also attributed rigging as the main reason behind Congress defeat in the recent elections.
On prospects in Pandhana, he said that in the last elections Congress had trailed in only three of the eight constituency by around 5,000 each and expressed confidence that Congress would be able to wipe off the deficit. In the last elections Congress candidate Hiralal Silawat had lost by 16,820 votes, while late Verma had got 56,236 (53.67 per cent) of the votes.