Bitter squabbles plague both BJP, Cong
After about three decades of industrialisation, the dreams the Dewas people cherished for themselves and their next generations have evaporated into thin air.india Updated: Nov 17, 2003 14:07 IST
Dewas stands a mute spectator to how political parties and governments could show utter disregard to development potential of any district. Several major industries and about 75 per cent of small scale industries out of the total of over 350 altogether have been closed down while talks of some major industry or the other being shifted to some other state only send further tremors to the town.
Industrialisation process when started in Dewas had sent a wave of jubilation among people particularly the youths. After about three decades the dreams the Dewas people cherished for themselves and their next generations have evaporated into thin air.
Come elections development issues take a back seat. Needless to mention, caste factor having vote catching potential comes in handy for the politicians to divert people’s attention from real issues in the Assembly elections. However, drinking water crisis is one of real issues often coined during the elections. If the BJP politicians remind people of their efforts in taking Narmada water to Dewas from Indore the Congress politicians who felt cornered by the BJP’s claims so far are now prepared to give a befitting reply to the opponents. For, the State government has sanctioned a project for drinking water supply to Dewas city from Shipra river.
All the Assembly constituencies in the district have different issues albeit caste being a common factor. Power pangs are what Dewas has also had like other cities and given the bad road conditions Dewas town citizens often wonder if the town is situated on Agra Bombay (AB) Road.
The BJP and the Congress both are plagued with infighting but bitter infighting within the Congress has placed the BJP in an advantageous position.
How the Congress is plagued with bitter inner squabbles can be gauged from the fact two of the few constituencies where the Congress was not able to select its candidates in the State till November 11 are in Dewas district- Khategaon and Haatpiplya.
The issues likely to be raised in the elections include poor power scenario, bad road conditions, want of clean administration, growing unemployment, the State and Central governments’ policies etc.
Here Muslims, Brahmins and Khati samaj members play dominant role in the elections. Once considered to be the Congress stronghold the BJP now considers the seat as its safe seat given influence of the BJP candidate and sitting MLA from royal family Tukojirao Pawar and the Congress’ bitter infighting.
Pawar has been winning the seats in a row from 1990. The Congress’s decision to give ticket to Jaisingh has upset previous candidate Ratan Lal Chaudhary camp, which wants to pay him back in kind. Chaudhary after his defeat in 1998 elections had complained against Jaisingh for his alleged sabotage act. The State Congress issued notice to Jaisingh but no avail. Now the Congress has chosen the same Jaisingh, Mayor of Dewas Municipal Corporation as its nominee.
The previous candidate Ratan Lal Chaudhary said, “we had explicitly demanded of the party leadership that the ticket be given to anybody but Jaisingh, for he had indulged in sabotage against the party and it was the major reason behind his defeat. Now when the party has chosen him as the nominee the workers feel demoralised.”
Without naming Jaisingh the City Congress president Pt Jaiprakash Shastri said, it was not the BJP but certain Jaichands in the party who had defeated the Congress.”
If Mehndikheda incident in which four tribals were killed a few years back continues to haunt the tribals here what must be haunting the state BJP president Kailash Joshi is the constituency itself. Joshi who won the seat eight times consecutively, a record of sorts, from 1962 was humbled at the hands of comparatively political non-entity Shayam Holani who had faced defeat at his hands in 1990 and 1993 elections.
Writing on the wall was already discernible for Joshi in 1993 elections itself when he could just about manage to win the seat by a slender margin of 401. Now, Kailash Joshi would again be testing his mettle but for his son Deepak Joshi against the Congress nominee Shyam Holani. What goes in favour of the BJP is resentment among the tribals against the government over Mehndikheda incident. The tribals are in a dominating position in the constituency with about 40 to 45 per cent of population. However, the Congress has reposed its faith in Shyam Holani again who enjoys good influence in the tribal belt. Hence, the fight may be tough between the two sides.
The BSP and the SP are also making all out efforts to make inroads in the constituency. To throw a spanner in the works Adivasi Mukti Morcha Sangthan may also field its candidate. Morcha is growing in its strength in the constituency while taking up the cudgels to raise Mehndikheda incident. Recently, it organised a rally.
The contest for this seat would be most interesting in Dewas district where Congress leader Kamal Nath acolyte Minister for Urban Administration and Development Sajjan Singh Verma and former IPS official Pannalal have locked horns to get the better of each other.
What concerns Verma is possibility of sabotage by ex-MLA from Hatpiplya Rajendra Singh Baghel who is said to be close to the Chief Minister Digvijay Singh and lives in the same constituency.
Verma is leaving no stone unturned to please Balai Samaj members who dominate the constituency with its 35,000 voters. Balai samaj had demanded its own candidate from the Congress. If Verma is concerned over sabotage the BJP candidate Pannalal is not complacent either. He is facing similar situation from his party as the local BJP leaders consider him an outsider and candidate imposed on them. Whether he can use his administrative skills to his advantage
in the political field remains to be seen.
The electorate of Khateon often lament the fact that their MLAs come either from neighbouring Kannod constituency or some other outside place despite the fact it covers only 25 per cent area of Kannod. This time the political parties’ workers demanded “local candidates”.
However, the BJP has reposed its faith again in sitting MLA Brajmohan Dhut who is follower of Uma Bharti. Most of the time the non-Congress parties have overshadowed the Congress in the Assembly elections here. The Congress has declared Zila Panchayat chairman Narayan Singh Chaudhary its nominee on the seat. Ex-MLA Kailash Kundal who faced defeat in the 1998 election had recently stepped up campaign for ticket with support of Suresh Pachori. However, he is facing tough resistance from Ex- MLA Ganpat Patel who is from Scindia camp. However, Patel also sought support from Suresh Pachori for ticket. Narayan Singh Chaudhary in fact wanted ticket for Haatpiplya seat while locking horns with Rajendra Singh Baghel.
Contest on the seat is a prestigious issue for Uma Bharti, for some area of Khategaon constituency falls under her parliamentary constituency. The BSP, the SP, the NCP would eat into the vote banks of the two parties.
Caste factor plays a major role here and this is what made the BJP leader Tejsingh Sendhav MLA here four times from 1977 and also this is what can make Tejsingh Sendhav a confidant rebel, for the BJP has denied him ticket this time despite his being the sitting MLA to field Raisingh Sendhav. Interestingly, Raisingh Sendhav is principal of the Saraswati Shishu Mandir where, the police alleged, the main accused in Nenamas murder case had hatched the murder
Ex-Congress MLA Rajendra Singh Baghel heaved a sigh of relief when the Congress decided to field Narayan Singh Chaudhary on Khategon seat and declared Baghel nominee for Haatpiplya seat. Chaudhary wanted ticket for the seat on the premise Khati Samaj which he belongs to, is in a dominating position in the constituency with over 20 per cent of voters.