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BJP, Congress evenly poised in Indore

Considered the commercial hub of Madhya Pradesh and a strategic centre, which sets the political tone for the entire Malwa region, Indore district is expected to witness a pitched battle with the scales balanced evenly for the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in this election.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2003 15:31 IST

Considered the commercial hub of Madhya Pradesh and a strategic centre, which sets the political tone for the entire Malwa region, Indore district is expected to witness a pitched battle with the scales balanced evenly for the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in this election.

For both the Congress and BJP, Indore’s eight Assembly segments will be a prestige issue as both parties have considerable political interests here. A look at last election results shows that the Congress swept aside the BJP challenge by winning six out of the eight seats with consummate ease.

This time however, the Congress would not find the going easy as factionalism and internecinesquabbles plague it. All the major factions of the Congress – be it the CM faction, or that of Kamalnath, Jyotiraditya Scindia or even the Dy CM Subhash Yadav are quite active here.

This despite the fact that they have tried to present a picture of unity, which was more than evident at the Mahila Sammelan addressed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. But political observers point towards the ‘flop show’ that the August Kranti rally held at Rajwada where the Congress leaders could not mobilise enough crowd.

That apart, the Congress would be seeking to put up fresh faces to ward off anti-incumbency factor in some of the politically sensitive constituencies.

And for the BJP! It too is not without its measure of factionalism led by supporters of Union Minister Sumitra Mahajan faction and the Mayor Kailash Vijayvargiya.

Evidently under immense pressure to wrest as many seats as possible from the district, the BJP, would be hoping to harp on ‘developmental issues’ with an equally good measure of Hindutva. But even while the BJP would seek to highlight the achievements of the party led NDA alliance at the Centre, they would find them-selves on the backfoot especially in view of the rather lacklustre performance of the BJP-led Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC).

Roads – which were devastated by some late monsoon rains last month — could well prove to be a bumpy ride for candidates of both parties.

INDORE 1:
Total voters:1,99,206

Ramlal Yadav ‘Bhallu’ of the Congress is the sitting MLA and he had defeated Lalchand Murlidhar Mittal of the BJP by a margin of about 5.400 votes. This has traditionally been a Congress seat and if one were to look at the results of the past four elections, the BJP has one it only once in 1993. The Congress has won twice from here and once during the 1977 Janata wave, the seat went to the Janata Party.

This election, the BJP is expected to put up a tougher fight. As of now four names are doing the round – they are Uma Shashi Sharma, Usha Thakur, Rajendra Shukla (son of Vishnu Bade Bhaiyya) and Dinesh Shukla, the vice president of the BJP City unit. Of these three names Uma Sharma is most likely to be the BJP candidate.

INDORE 2:
Total voters:2,09,572.

BJP state spokesman and Indore Mayor Kailash Vijayvargiya is the sitting MLA.
He had defeated Dr Rekha Gandhi of the Congress by a margin of over 20,000
votes. Vijayvargiya won this seat in 1993 also and it is considered a stronghold of the BJP. This is probably why the Congress is not seeking to field a strong candidate.

Pankaj Sanghvi, who contested the MP elections and lost in 1998, is keen to contest from here for the Assembly elections this time. But sensing the strong mass base Vijayvargiya has, Sanghvi is learnt to have decided to stake a claim for Indore 5 constituency as well.

INDORE 3:
Total voters:85,462.

Congress’ Ashwin Joshi, a nephew of veteran Mahesh Joshi, is the sitting MLA and he had defeated Gopikrishna Nema of the BJP by a margin of about 3000 votes. In fact Mahesh Joshi had won the seat twice in 1980 and 1985 by defeating BJP’s Rajendra Dharkar and SumitraMahajan respectively before Gopikrishna Nema trounced him in 1990. Nema retained the seat in the 1993 elections, but lost it again in 1998.

It is also believed that Indore 3 is the strongest Congress seat this time and the
BJP would want to wrest it back. Two names – that of Lalit Porwal and Gopikrishna Nema are doing the rounds this time.

INDORE 4:
Total voters:2,26,966

Laxman Singh Gaud of the BJP is the sitting MLA and he defeated Congress’ Govind Madhani by almost 16000 votes. Gaud may be the BJP’s trump card, but there are two other contenders also.
Shankar Lalwani and Madhu Verma could well get the nod ahead of Gaud. In the Congress, Chandra Prabhash Shekhar, is a strong claimant.

INDORE 5:
Total voters:2,63,755.

Satyanarayan Patel of the Congress is the sitting MLA. He had defeated Bhanwar Singh Shekawat. This locality has a considerable Muslim population on which the Congress is banking. But Patel’s candidature is doubtful and the party is looking for another candidate because
of internal squabbling.

For the BJP, the most likely candidate is Mahendra Hardia, the City unit president.

MHOW:
Total voters:1,43,497.

Antar Singh Darbar the sitting MLA of Congress had created a major upset in 1998 when he defeated Bherulal Patidar, thrice MLA from here since 1985. This time, the BJP has decided to field a strong candidate to defeat the Congress and it is felt that Patidar would not be the
candidate this time.

As no one BJP candidate is expected to the get the support of Patidar and some of his supporters who have distanced from each other, the BJP leadership appears to have zeroed in on Hindu Jagran Manch leader Radheysham Yadav. Patidar is not in his favour. Patidar’s rival group have suggested the name of Kanchan Singh Chauhan but Patidar is not in his favour.

The Congress might retain Darbar. The Nenama murder issue has come in quite handy for the Congress who would try to show down the BJP and its allied organisation. The BJP on the other hand would try to propagate that the arrests in the case were purely politically motivated and one that has been done at the instructions of the Chief Minister.

SANVER:
Total voters:1,45,879.

Congress’ Premchand Guddu is the sitting MLA and he defeated Prakash Sonkar who had held the seat in 1985 and 1990. Tulsi Silawat, now Urja Vikas Nigam chairman had also won the seat in 1985. Interestingly, MPCC president Radhakishan Malviya has twice lost here in 1977 and 1980.

DEPALPUR:
Total voters:1,44,444.

Jagdish Patel of the Congress is the sitting MLA. Depalpur constituency is nobody’s bastion. Patel may not be given the ticket this time, it is believed. The word is that Rameshwar Patel, father of MLA Satyanarayan Patel, might be given the ticket just to appease the Patel family.

The BJP could spring a surprise here by fielding Mandar Mahajan, Sumitra Mahajan’s son. He has already started nursing the constituency.

First Published: Oct 23, 2003 12:49 IST