BJP confident of repeating 2013 feat in Gwalior, Bhind
The BJP won 11 seats here in 2013, a feat its local leaders believe the party is set to repeat.
“Hamara hi fayeda hua (It works to our benefit),” said BJP’s district president in Bhind, Sanjeev Kankar, when asked about the alliance talks between the Congress and BSP collapsing in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh.
Amid preparing party workers headed for BJP president Amit Shah’s tour to adjoining Shivpuri and Gwalior on Tuesday, Kankar had a sound reason to say so. The Bhind assembly constituency exemplifies the BSP’s rise in these border assembly constituencies, so much so that Mayawati’s party surprised many by securing the second position in the 2013 election. It pushed a hapless Congress, which held the seat, to the third place with about 21,000 votes, and secured more than double the votes, close to 45,000.
The BJP candidate won by securing about 51,000 votes. The BSP also pushed the Congress to the third place in Pohari seat of Gwalior region in 2013, polling about 49,000 votes, while the BJP won the seat. The BSP secured a reasonable number of votes in almost all seats in this region, and together with the Congress secured more votes than the BJP in 13 out of 16 seats here.
“There is no doubt that if BSP-Congress alliance would have happened, a majority of seats in Gwalior-Bhind would have been won by the alliance and it could have been a formidable force in the state too,” Chaudhri Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi, the former four-time MLA of Bhind from the Congress, who shifted to the BJP before the 2013 election, told ET at his palatial residence in Bhind. He did not contest the last election, which he said was the reason for the BSP’s phenomenal performance, but he is eager to fight this time.
“I have asked the BJP for a ticket. If they give me one, fine, or I will fight on my own,” said Chaturvedi, a Brahmin leader, adding that upper castes are “angry with the BJP” over the SC/ST Act ordinance brought by it to nullify the Supreme Court’s order.
“BSP will not win any seats here but will harm the Congress,” said Chaturvedi. The BSP is repeating its 2013 candidate from this seat, Sanjeev Singh, son of the four-time former BJP MP from Bhind, Ram Lakhan Singh.
“We will win many seats in the Bhind-Gwalior region this time… I almost won Bhind last time,” said Singh.
The region’s importance shows in both BJP president Amit Shah and Congress president Rahul Gandhi planning visits here in quick succession. While Shah will be on a tour to Shivpuri, Guna and Gwalior on Tuesday, Gandhi is headed here next week for two days.
A Congress leader claimed that the BSP’s influence was being overstated as it had finished fourth in both the reserved constituencies in Bhind in 2013 – Gohad and Bhander. In the two reserved constituencies in Gwalior, the BSP finished a poor third in Dabara but put up a close fight in Karera, where it has already declared a candidate.
Many locals that ET spoke to in Bhind failed to recall the name of any state BSP leader but said they knew the party symbol was elephant and Mayawati was the chief. The BJP, which has sitting MPs in Bhind and Gwalior (Narendra Singh Tomar, the campaign committee chief of the BJP), is confident its firepower will subdue the fragmented contenders.