Budhni, MP, Nov 26 (IECurrentAffairs) It is an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation in this assembly constituency within Sehore, the native district of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who is aiming at a fourth successive victory and is on collision course with the Congress’ former state President-cum-former Union Minister Arun Yadav who is leaving no stone unturned in this prestigious tussle.
The fact that Mr Chouhan, after submission of nomination papers, left the home-turf campaigning to his spouse Sadhana Singh and Kartikey – one of the couple’s two sons – and is drumming up support for the saffron party in other parts of the state speaks volumes of his confidence level.
“Budhni’s populace is my extended family,” the Chief Minister says but is keeping tabs on the happenings in the constituency where Mrs Sadhana, Mr Kartikey and their supporters are ceaselessly accessing rural and urban areas.
For more than a couple of weeks, Budhni is witnessing rapid-fire campaigning by two-time parliamentarian Mr Yadav, the son of former Deputy Chief Minister Subhash Yadav who was the countenance of Backward Classes during the Digvijaya Singh dispensation and is since deceased.
At a rally in Mr Yadav’s favour, Congress President Rahul Gandhi described the former as the state’s future – a term that is being interpreted differently by political pundits in view of the fact that the party is yet to announce a chief ministerial candidate and has drawn heavy flak from the saffron camp vis-a-vis this aspect.
Mr Yadav has visited in excess of 60 per cent villages in the constituency.
“I am constantly interacting with the area’s residents and receiving affection plus support of the populace. I hit the campaign trail in the morning, work continues till late at night and I rest at any village that I reach after midnight. The electorate shall script history by making me emerge victorious,” Mr Yadav – who was occupying the position of Congress state President till April – told UNI.
Local leader and ex-Minister Rajkumar Patel has become his shadow.
After Mr Kamal Nath was elevated as state chief, Mr Yadav was said to be disgruntled but the central leadership subsequently gave him the Budhni challenge though Mr Chouhan reacted to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s decision by describing Mr Yadav as a scapegoat.
While the Chief Minister’s kin are publicising the Chouhan dispensation’s achievements and development work in the constituency, Mr Yadav and his supporters are raising unauthorised mining on the Narmada’s banks and other “failures”. How much impact all this has had will become crystal clear when results are announced on D-Day December 11. The fates of the 15 candidates, including seven independents in the fray here, shall be sealed in electronic voting machines on Wednesday.
Political observers say that the approximately 20,000-strong Yadav vote bank and roughly an equivalent number of tribal electors comprise a major ray of hope for the Congress. It is probably caste equations that made the party decide on Mr Yadav’s candidature.
In the 2013 assembly polls, Mr Chouhan surged ahead to win by a margin exceeding 84,000. His nearest rival was the Congress’ Dr Mahendra Singh Chouhan. The Chief Minister ensured power supply, a network of roads and Narmada water via pipeline in his constituency. Mr Kartikey is active in the area for about a year.
Voters’ annoyance in some rural areas became public a couple of times after being caught on camera. These critics alleged that Mr Chouhan’s welfare schemes remained restricted to urban areas.
Mr Chouhan emerged victorious from Budhni for the first time time in 1990. Subsequently, he was elected to Parliament from Vidisha. In November 2005, political circumstances resulted in Mr Chouhan assuming the chief ministerial mantle replacing Mr Babulal Gaur. In 2006, Mr Chouhan won again from Budhni and repeated the performance in 2008 and 2013.