The Congress is hoping to give the BJP a tough fight in Vidisha by exploiting the confusion in the saffron party over its nominee for the seat.
It also expects Uma Bharti’s Bharatiya Janshakti Party to cut into the BJP votes during the parliamentary by-polls. Congress sources, unwilling to be named, said Uma has been sending feelers to them for a tacit understanding for the October 30 elections to Vidisha where she hopes to get the support of the Lodhs, the backward community she belongs to.
Since the constituency is considered a BJP stronghold, Uma would need the support of other communities and parties to make the contest tough for the saffron party.
The Congress, however, has decided to contest the seat even if the BJP fields Varun Gandhi as part of its gameplan to counter his cousin Rahul who represents the younger generation of Congress leaders in the Lok Sabha.
“Yes, we will contest the seat,” said AICC spokesman Satyavrat Chaturvedi who hails from the state but represents Uttaranchal in the Rajya Sabha.
But it is a tough call for the party because it has won this seat only twice. It did so the first time when the 1971 Bangladesh war whipped up a wave of popularity for Indira Gandhi. In 1984, Indira’s assassination saw a sympathy wave for the Congress, which won the seat again.
Since then, Vidisha has staunchly backed the BJP, giving Chouhan 65 per cent votes in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls. Congress nominee Narmada Prasad Sharma lagged behind with 25.48 per cent votes.
Things do not appear any different now, with Chouhan expected to make the Vidisha election a prestige issue even if his wife Sadhana fails to get the party ticket.