RAMPAL SINGH’S selection as BJP candidate for Vidisha Lok Sabha constituency has rekindled a hope in the moribund Congress for a fighting chance in the October 30 by-elections.
The Congress leaders, who were expecting either Varun Gandhi or Sadhana Singh as candidate, were in for a little pleasant surprise as the BJP announced a political minnow for the Vidisha seat. The change in the tone and tenor of talks in the Congress headquarters today was quite unmistakable.
There was some caution too. Rampal Singh is a dummy candidate for the Chief Minister and Chouhan would leave no stone unturned to ensure his loyalist’s victory, opined a PCC general secretary.
Meanwhile, somebody close to Bharatiya Janshakti leader Uma Bharti called up on the cell phone of a PCC general secretary to inquire about his assessment of situation at Vidisha following announcement of Rampal Singh’s candidature. The Congress leader replied, ‘If Umaji contests now, she will definitely win’.
A couple of days ago, a PCC general secretary from Vidisha, who is considered close to Subhash Yadav, was heard telling his colleagues that he would give toughest fight to the BJP at Vidisha but why should he contest to lose.
The two-time Vidisha MP, Pratap Bhanu Sharma, had also been saying if the party decided his name, he would contest. But he looked unsure. On Friday, however, his body language changed. He appeared more enthusiastic and started calculating support groups in Vidisha, whom he could bank upon.
The general perception in the PCC was that Rampal Singh is far weaker candidate than Sadhana Singh or Varun Gandhi would have been. Thus, the Congress now stands a fair chance of doing well in Vidisha.
Tacit support from Uma Bharti could also be expected.