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Gwalior

However the Congress is confronted with the anti-incumbency factor while BJP on the other is faced with its weak opposition in two successive Assemblies and growing factionalism within party circles on issue of ticket distribution state-wide.

india Updated: Nov 14, 2003 19:57 IST

With thecountdown for Assembly election in the State being set in motion, the tug of war between political groups in a bid to influence voters has gained momentum. Newly formed outfits seem in a hurry to board the bus that could steer them to the final destination at Vidhan Sabha in Bhopal. Two major political groups in the State, Congress and BJP have their own points of substantiating claims in winning the election.

However the Congress is confronted with the anti-incumbency factor while BJP on the other is faced with its weak opposition in two successive Assemblies and growing factionalism within party circles on issue of ticket distribution state-wide. In case of Gwalior the preference of electors is not the feel good factor with Atal Behari Vajpayee or providing stability at the Centre but the accountability of sitting MLAs and their report card on development.

The Bhartiya Janata Party in given circumstances need to prepare a voluminous report on development because four out of six seats in district were represented by them in 11th assembly. The remaining 2 of Lashkar East (Ramesh Agrawal) and Gird (Lakhan Singh) were bagged by Congress and BSP respectively. Lakhan Singh of BSP had later joined the Congress under Digvijay Singh rule after quitting BSP. Moreover the BJP would also need to give an account of the poor civic infrastructure of the city being controlled by GMC with the party in majority.

Assembly seats of Gwalior, Lashkar East, Lashkar West and half of Morar segment is represented by urban populace while remaining part of Morar, Gird and Dabra segment lies under rural domination. Urban populace of the city is likely to rake up issues of civic amenities and other development works being carried out in preceding years while rural candidates of political parties would need to face the villagers wrath on power, water, roads and dacoity menace.

Caste equation and personality charisma of individual candidate would play a decisive factor in swinging the balance either way. Bahujan Samaj Party has sizable vote bank in Gird, Dabra and Morar Assembly segments but in given circumstances it will influence the prospects in Gird seat alone. Remaining five Assembly seats in the district will have a direct contest between the two major groups. Similarly SP and SSP does not have significant impact on voters of district Gwalior except for the Morar seat. Samajwadi Party candidate Munna Lal Goel from Morar seat will manage to record sizable presence in the poll tally.

District Congress president Dr RD Paprikar took a dig at the BJP and expressed sympathy for Vivek Shejwalkar (BJP) being made scapegoat by denying him a party ticket from Lashkar East. The seat change of Anoop Mishra (BJP) from Lashkar West to East will help the Congress of factional politics and internal sabotaging within BJP. Similarly the Congress will benefit in Morar seat on account of advancing the campaigning trail by almost a week following delay in announcing the name of the candidate.

Paprikar is confident of winning all six seats in the district on good performance of the State government. The party has fielded strong, experienced candidates with social acceptance and clean image in all six seats. The obvious disappointment in women’s circle for not fielding any women candidate in the district will not affect poll prospects. In the given situation Ramesh Agrawal (Lashkar East) and Lakhan Singh (Gird) might face challenge from other groups on some accounts. However the workers are upbeat and moral of candidates is at an all time high.

We are launching election campaign with obvious psychological advantage over rivals who took so long in deciding candidates for all Assembly seats. The Congress will highlight its achievement including Panchayati Raj which was conceived by Gandhiji and the State had the privilege of pioneering it. A power crisis is a nation wide phenomenon and MP is not an exception however things would improve in the subsequent regime of Congress party.

District BJP president Gangaram Baghele apparently looked uncomfortable with answering the ticket distribution imbroglio. However it is a party decision and we need to abide by it. Baghele is optimistic of winning all six seats in the district for a variety of reasons including the feel good factor of Atalji. The party will highlight the achievements of Central government and works accomplished by sitting MLAs of BJP in their respective constituencies. It is not an individual charisma of a candidate that matters but the party’s image. Uma wave is blowing strong in the State that will steer BJP to power this time.

Gwalior

This Assembly segment of city was the most prosperous area in 70’s and 80’s when power looms of JC Mills and Gwalior Rayon were producing premium fabric by the name Gwalior Suiting. Following closure of Mill about a decade ago the shadow of poverty and hunger due to unemployment cast its shadow over the mill workers who had migrated in large number from villages. It is the largest Assembly segment of the district with a voter population of 2.036 lakh. Congress candidate Balendu Shukla (former minister and three term MLA), BJP candidate MLA Narendra Singh Tomar (won 1998 election by 26,358 votes), BSP candidate Chandan Rai and Awatar Singh Yadav of SP are in fray this time.

The main fight is likely to be between the Congress and BJP. Rehabilitation or compensation to displaced workers, unemployment, poverty, and hooliganism besides other burning issues that candidates would require to answer. Caste composition comprises of Thakurs, Brahmins, Kawariya, OBC (50,000) and others would play decisive role in swinging votes either way. Observers believe that Gwalior Assembly seat battle is likely to be the most interesting contest amongst all district seats.

Lashkar East

This Assembly constituency is the smallest amongst six in district Gwalior with voter population of 1.26 lakh. Educated voters of this segment mainly hail from business community and salaried background. Development of area together with efforts to promote business activities remains the prime concern for the voters. Congress candidate Ramesh Agrawal had defeated his nearest rival Vivek Shejwalkar of BJP by just a margin of 303 votes in 1998 election.

Caste composition of this Assembly segment comprises of Vaish, Baghele, Maharashtrians, Thakurs, Brahmins and others. However the disgruntled Maharashtrian lobby of BJP might sabotage chances of party candidate Anoop Mishra, who is given ticket from East in place of Vivek Shejwalkar. Congress has fielded Ramesh Agrawal from this seat against Anoop Mishra (nephew of Atal Behari Vajpayee).

Lashkar West

This Assembly constituency comprises voter population of 1.47 lakh with Kushwah, Muslim, Dalit, Brahmin, Gurjar, Kayasth, Sindhi-Punjabi, and Vaish playing dominating role in deciding the poll result. Anoop Mishra of BJP had defeated his Congress rival Bhagwan Singh Yadav by a margin of 2,546 votes in 1998 election. Three-forth population of this segment is partially illiterate and without social security.

However basis issues like water, power, sanitation, sewerage, health and education etc remain major concern for populace of this area. Main fight is likely to be between Bhagwan Singh Yadav of Congress and Narayan Singh Kushwah of BJP. Bhupendra Singh Bhadauria of SP is also in the fray from this seat.

Morar

This is the second largest Assembly seat in the district having a voter population 1.86 lakh with half of its area falling under village domination. Agriculture related problems coupled with growing unemployment and development of road network etc will be the issues of concern for voters. Dhyanendra Singh of BJP had defeated his Congress rival by a margin of 17,777 votes in 1998 Assembly election.

Caste composition of Gurjar, Dalit, Brahmin, Baghele, Kushwah, Vaish, Muslim, Yadav, Jat etc largely influence the tide of candidates either way. However the Scindia family enjoys sizable respect and influence in this region for decades. Former minister Rajendra Singh of Congress, Dhyanendra Singh of BJP, Munna Lal Goel of SP and Naresh Singh Gurjar of BSP are in the fray this time.

Gird

Geographically complex composition of the Assembly segment is stretched to a long distance on the AB road at one side with boundaries criss-crossing other segments on the other side. Village habitation of the Assembly largely depends on agriculture and stone mining as their lifeline for survival. Villagers are faced with dacoity menace as this part of the district is surrounded by remote hilly tract and dense forest.

Lakhan Singh of BSP had defeated his Congress rival Balendu Shukla by a margin of 9,652 votes in 1998 election. Later Lakhan Singh had quit BSP and joined Congress under Digvijay Singh rule. Brijendra Tiwari of Samta Party was in 3rd position with a difference of just 72 votes in 1998 election. However the interesting scenario this time is that Lakhan Singh is contesting on Congress ticket while Brijendra Tiwari is contesting on BJP ticket. Congress rebel Mohan Singh Rathore is also in the fray from BSP ticket. This Assembly segment has voter population of 1.65 lakh with caste composition of Dalit, Gurjar, OBC, Thakur, Brahmin, Kirar, Rawat, Muslim, Yadav, Sikh, Baghele etc.

Dabra

It is prosperous satellite town of the district with agriculture as lifeline of farmers. Sugar cane, rice, wheat and other cash crops are grown by the farmers including Punjabi community that brought phenomenal change in farming techniques. Sugar mills provide employment to thousands at the time of full capacity production. However they are running in loss for past few years. Dabra comprises elector population of 1.64 lakh with Rawat, Jatav, Brahmin, Punjabi, Gurjar, Harijan, Dalit, Bania etc.

Trading community largely influences voters of far-flung places for the simple reason of trade dealing and constant touch. Narottam Mishra of BJP had defeated his nearest rival Srilal Baghel of BSP by a margin of 3,637 votes in 1998 election. Congress candidate Ratan Singh Rawat stood 4th in the tally after rebel (Congress) Nathu Ram (3rd place) had contested on SP ticket. However Congress has fielded Ram Sewak Singh Gurjar against BJP candidate Narottam Mishra this time.

First Published: Nov 14, 2003 19:57 IST