With polling to take place in 16 of the 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh’s Malwa, Bundelkhand and Chambal regions on Thursday, a collective respite is visible among the electorate and political parties alike.
Few contests have evoked curiosity among voters. There were no David-versus-Goliath scenarios, no clash of titans, no Battle Royal and no sibling wars (except in Rajgarh where Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh sweated it out at the fag end to ensure the defeat of his younger brother Laxman Singh (57) of the BJP.
Even dacoits lay low in Chambal this time, robbing electioneering in the region of its traditional drama.
The BSP’s presence has sought to lessen the tedium of the state’s bipolar polity in a few seats in the Chambal and Bundelkhand regions adjoining Uttar Pradesh. But the caste arithmetic is so complex that no one can say for sure which main parties — the Congress and the BJP — the BSP elephant will trample.
Compared to the first phase, the Congress campaign was more cohesive and organised in the second. Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijay Singh shared the dais at many election meetings and this had a salutary effect on their supporters.
The most interesting battle in Malwa is in Indore. Former minister in NDA government and six-time MP Sumitra Mahajan (65) of the BJP is facing a spirited fight from the Congress’s Satya Narayan Patel (41), an MLA. Internal bickerings in the party plague Mahajan’s campaign. Her main worry is the apathy of state minister Kailash Vijayvargiya’s supporters.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has toiled really very hard to charge up party workers across the State by holding almost a-dozen rallies a day. But his earthy humour coupled with the promise to make MP number one state in rallies has not enthused the voter enough.