The BJP and the Congress are leaving no stone unturned to grab the biggest chunk of the dominant Maratha and Brahmin votes in Dewas with barely a couple of days left for the polling for the assembly by-election on November 21.
While Congress’s Jaiprakash Shastri is eyeing a majority of Brahmin votes, the BJP candidate and wife of late Tukoji Rao Puar, Gayatri Raje Puar, is banking on Maratha/Marathi votes in Dewas to see her through.
Tukoji Rao Puar, a descendant of the Puar dynasty of the Marathas who represented the Dewas assembly constituency, died in June this year which necessitated this by-election.
Maratha and Brahmin voters together constitute about a quarter of the electorate in Dewas and they could be the difference between the winning and losing candidate here.
The total number of voters in the constituency is 2.43 lakh, of which about 30,000 are Marathi voters and 28,000 Brahmin voters.
The Congress is attempting to woo the Brahmin voters with slogans like “Jai Parshuram”, while the BJP is playing the Marathi card.
Even as the BJP is aiming to ride the sympathy wave for the late MLA Tukoji Rao Puar in the by-election, party’s candidate Gayatri Raje Puar is also focusing on the development plank.
A big relief came for the BJP after party leaders managed to convince its rebel candidate and Maratha leader Sharad Pachunkar to withdraw his nomination papers.
With an aim to galvanise Bramhin voters, the Congress organised “Annakut Mahotsav” under the banner of Sarva Bramhin Mahasangh on Sunday.
The programme was organised in such a way that it looked like a religious programme, but the political undertones could not be missed.
The party invited all Bramhin Congress leaders including Suresh Pachouri, Mohan Prakash, Pankaj Sharma and others. To make this programme Sarva Bramhin Mahasangh, organisers also invited BJP leader Satyanarayan Sattan.
The very next day, on Monday, the BJP organised “Diwali Milan Samaroh” under the banner of Atal Vichar Manch to entice Bramhin voters in favour of the BJP candidate.
Cong, BJP treated tribes as vote banks: Sharad Yadav
Janata Dal (U) president Sharad Yadav in Ratlam criticised the Congress and the ruling BJP for “exploiting” impoverished tribes.
Addressing a rally for the by-election of the Ratlam- Jhabua parliamentary constituency, Yadav said while the Congress did little for the uplifting the tribes the BJP governments at the Centre and Madhya Pradesh want to end reservation for Dalits and tribes.
“The condition of the community has not improved in the country and they have been exploited by both the parties who treat them as vote bank,” he said.
The JD(U) has stitched an alliance with the CPI, CPI (Marxist), a tribal political outfit --Gondwana Gantantra Party --and the Bahujan Sangharsh Dal by fielding a common candidate-- Vijay Hari-- to take on the Congress and the BJP in the by-election. The pact, minus the Congress, is similar to the Grand Alliance in Bihar, which swept the recent assembly polls.
Yadav said the grand alliance experiment, like the one in Bihar, was significant and it will be replicated across the country in the future.