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CM holds on to fort against Uma storm

EXPELLED BHARATIYA Janata Party leader Uma Bharti does not appear to be in a mood to allow the BJP candidate from Budhni Assembly constituency Shivraj Singh Chouhan to breathe it easy. From tomorrow, Sadhvi is on a three-day mass contact programme in the constituency.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2006 14:17 IST

EXPELLED BHARATIYA Janata Party leader Uma Bharti does not appear to be in a mood to allow the BJP candidate from Budhni Assembly constituency Shivraj Singh Chouhan to breathe it easy. From tomorrow, Sadhvi is on a three-day mass contact programme in the constituency.

During this period, she would also address a string of public meetings. Sensing her renewed interest in the constituency, Chouhan is leaving nothing to chance. He has intensified his mass contact progmame and he is now spending more time in his constituency. On last two days of the campaigning— April 21 and April 22 — he would use a chopper for electioneering.

She would address one public meeting at Shahganj, an area considered to be Chouhan’s stronghold. The area was in the news a couple of days back after the district administration had turned down the Gondwana Gantantra Party’s (GGP) request to hold a public meeting there. Uma Bharti was to address the public meeting.

The Chief Minister held a mass contact programme the same day at Shahganj and stayed there the previous night. Sadhvi’s unusual interest in the area took the Chouhan camp by surprise.

They did not expect Uma Bharti to make Budhni by-election a prestige issue once she had decided not to field her candidate and take on Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the prestigious Raibareilly Lok Sabha seat by-election.

Uma is now concentrating more on tribal voters in the constituency. The sadhvi camp feels that even if the victory margin of Chouhan is reduced, it would be as good as a victory for them.

Chouhan had registered a lead of about 45,000 votes in Budhni Assembly constituency segment of Vidisha Lok Sabha seat in the previous Lok Sabha election. Chouhan won the seat. During mass contact programme, the GGP workers and Uma Bharti’s followers did not forget to highlight Chouhan’s failure to develop the constituency in the past fifteen years or so.

With Gondwana Gantantra Party trying everything to woo tribals voters and Sadhvi extending her support, the Chief Minister does not want to leave any stone unturned to convince tribals about his commitment to the development of the area.

Addressing election meetings today, he reiterated his resolve to improving the living standard of tribal community. He said the State Government would safeguard the tribals’ self-respect.

He addressed election meetings at Vivera, Makodia, Ninhore, Mathni and Panguradia.