Issues concerning women take a backseat in Seoni
Even though both the major political parties -- BJP and Congress -- have fielded women candidates for the May five Lok Sabha elections, the issues concerning the fairer sex are being seldom raised in this dusty place, which falls on the border of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
For that matter local developmental issues of this backward region of Mahakoshal are also not being highlighted during electioneering, a tour of this constituency reveals.
Villages falling in Lakhnadon assembly segment of this Lok Sabha seat get electricity for a mere 2-3 hours every day, barring Seoni town, road conditions in other parts of the region is bad, drinking water is a problem in this drought-prone area and conversion of rail links from Seoni to other parts from narrow-guage to broad-guage is still a dream.
But neither Congress' Kalyani Pandey or BJP' Neeta Pateria are highlighting these issues.
Pandey is harping on the "misrule" of the Vajpayee-led NDA Government at the Centre and is distributing pamphlets highlighting escalation of prices of essential commodities and agricultural products.
Pateria's campaign has focus on the image of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the developmental work during the NDA rule.
To make the contest women dominated in Seoni, Gondwana Ganatantra Party's Rajeshwari Ueike and Samajwadi Party's Savitri Rao are also among a total of nine candidates in the fray.
Though Bahujan Samaj Party's L K Deshbrathar is also in the contest, he is unlikely to make much impact on the electoral results in this constituency.
But with the sizeable chunk of Gond community votes, GGPFs Ueike can tilt the electoral scales in the region. If the voting pattern among adivasis in this region remains same as in the assembly polls held four months ago, then through division of votes BJP appears to be in an advantageous position.