BJP will override anti-incumbency to retain power in MP: VD Sharma
Amid reports of friction in the state unit and several state leaders pointing out concerns that the younger voters prefer a new face, Sharma refuted that there is a clamour for change in leadership, as ground reports suggest a “fatigue” factor associated with the incumbent CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will override anti-incumbency to retain power in the state and set a new record of winning with a massive mandate just like it did in Gujarat, said Madhya Pradesh BJP unit president VD Sharma.
He said he is confident that the work carried out by the BJP government in the state over the past few decades will help the party retain power.
Sharma also dismissed the Congress’s attempts to recast its outreach by wooing the Hindu vote bank as an example of their “double-faced politics” and said it will not cut ice with the voters.
“The scenario has changed, there is transformation in all sectors whether it is roads, utilities, healthcare, education, social welfare schemes and poverty alleviation programmes. How is it possible otherwise to have pulled out 10.36 million people from below poverty levels,” he said.
The BJP will mount its election campaign in the poll-bound state on the development agenda focusing on women-centric policies.
Sharma, a lawmaker from Khajuraho said: “The state has been head of others as far as agricultural growth is concerned. During the Congress rule, the industrial growth was in the negative and today it has increased to 24% (in 2022-23). In the agricultural sector, we have an 18% growth that is not ordinary.”
He cited the example of Gujarat, where the party won a record 156 seats out of 182, despite being in power for over 27 years. “Fulfilling the promises to the electorate is our strength... our poll planks will be the social welfare schemes of the centre and state government that were designed for Jan Kalyan (welfare of the people),” said Sharma.
Amid reports of friction in the state unit and several state leaders pointing out concerns that the younger voters prefer a new face, Sharma refuted that there is a clamour for change in leadership, as ground reports suggest a “fatigue” factor associated with the incumbent CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
Sharma also asserted that the election will be fought under the “collective leadership” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and CM Chauhan.
“The works carried out under the leadership of the chief minister are historic and have transformed the state from a BIMARU state to a developed state,” said Sharma. The word BIMARU, an acronym for Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh was used to denote the lack of economic development and lag in sectors of education, healthcare and other indices.
To a question on how a generational shift observed in other states, where younger and newer faces are given space, is yet to take place in MP, Sharma said: “The new generation is emerging...but the decision on who will be the front runners for top posts will be decided by the parliamentary board and the central leadership.”
He also asserted that the BJP will not face any challenges from its leaders who have in recent weeks left the party fold. A few BJP members have eloped to the newly formed Janhit Party floated by Abhay Jain, a senior member of the Rashtriya Swayansewak Sangh *
(RSS), the ideological fount of the BJP.
The Janhit Party founder and members have been critical of the ruling BJP and have put on record that democratic practices are no longer followed.
“It is a democracy and people have a right to take the path they want...People sometimes act out of swarth (selfishness), such people come and go. While there is no anger or discontent over ticket distribution among the party workers, those who want to leave are free to do what they want,” Sharma said.
Responding to the allegations levelled by Jain and the impact it could have on the electoral fortunes of the party, Sharma said, “In a democratic system all have a right to say what they want. He (Jain) is independent, he can do whatever. Sangh never puts restrictions on its swayamsevaks (volunteers) to work for the samaj (society), there are no restrictions and some swayamsevaks are in other parties as well,” he said.
The BJP will also focus on highlighting the “failures” of the Congress government, Sharma said. “They did nothing during the 15 months that they were in power (2018-2020). Rs.200 crore that was provided to the state under the Jal Jeevan Mission was unspent and lapsed. Funds under several heads were sent back as they were not spent. There was rampant corruption, we have proof. Their own minister Govind Singh used to say, paisa upar tak jata hai (money reaches the top).”
On the Congress being perceived to make attempts to woo the Hindu vote bank and former CM Kamal Nath claiming, “What is the point of making a Hindu nation, 82% are Hindus here”, Sharma said the party has a dual stance on Hinduism.
“Congress has always had a double face. They believe in division and rule. People of this country are well aware of what both Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh have said about Hindus and how they attack Hinduism. Just as they make false promises, they are doing this (woo Hindus) for electoral purposes. The minorities in MP asked Kamal Nath to explain his stance,” he said.
The elections are scheduled to be held in November to elect all 230 members of Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly.