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Amit Shah invokes Rajmata’s legacy in Gwalior-Chambal campaign

Scindia was present on the stage and enthusiastically cheering on Shah when he referred to her mother’s contribution to the BJP. “Yashodhara Raje Scindia is carrying forward Rajmata’s legacy in BJP.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Oct 10, 2018, 07.57 AM IST
Amit Shah with MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Guna, MLA Yashodhara Raje Scindia at her mother’s memorial in Gwalior where Shah paid tributes
With ‘Rajmata’ Vijaya Raje Scindia’s picture on the stage in Shivpuri as prominent as that of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, BJP president Amit Shah invoked her legacy in his visit to the Gwalior-Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday and spoke about the party’s country-wide plans for its late leader’s centenary year celebrations starting October 12.

In 34 assembly constituencies in this region, where the BJP won 20 seats in the previous election, the ‘mahal’ or the erstwhile royal family of Gwalior is considered a big factor. Rajmata (queen mother) was the wife of the last ruling maharaja of Gwalior.

Last month, Rajmata’s daughter and BJP’s MLA from Shivpuri, Yashodhara Raje Scindia, had stormed out of a party meeting in Bhopal on finding her mother’s picture missing from the stage while pictures of Vajpayee, Syama Prasad Mukherjee and Deendayal Upadhyaya were put up. Rajmata was one of the founders of the party, Scindia, the state sports minister, had then said before walking out.

On Tuesday, a picture of Rajmata was put up prominently on the stage from where Shah addressed party workers. Scindia was present on the stage and enthusiastically cheering on Shah when he referred to her mother’s contribution to the BJP. “Yashodhara Raje Scindia is carrying forward Rajmata’s legacy in BJP. We are starting country-wide celebrations for Rajmata’s centenary year from October 12 with various events. The biggest tribute to Rajmata by BJP workers in her centenary year will be to win Madhya Pradesh in a thumping way in 2018 and again in 2019,” Shah said in Shivpuri.

Shah then did a two-km long roadshow in Guna, the parliamentary constituency of Congress leader and Rajmata’s grandson Jyotiraditya Scindia, in an effort to showcase BJP’s strength in the area. Guna and Chhindwara are the only two Lok Sabha constituencies that the BJP did not win in 2014. Shah then flew to Gwalior to pay his respects at the Amma Maharaj ki Chhatri, the memorial dedicated to Rajmata. The ‘mahal’ factor is considered significant among voters in Shivpuri, Guna and Gwalior districts, which Shah visited in his day-long visit.

In the 2013 election, the BJP had improved its tally to 20 seats from 16 in the previous polls while the Congress won 12 seats and the BSP two. “We aim to win all 34 seats in Gwalior-Chambal region this time,” BJP state president Rakesh Singh said in Shivpuri.

The BJP and the Congress were separated by just about 1% votes in this region, making the BJP go the extra mile this time to woo voters.

“Rajmata always kept her gentle shadow over Jana Sangh (precursor of the BJP) workers here with her mother-like image. We are starting her centenary year celebrations from October 12 in all 19 NDA-ruled states,” said Shah. Postage stamps would be launched, statues installed and government installations named after Rajmata, he said.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will launch a marathon of women professionals to Delhi from Gwalior on October 12 in Rajmata’s memory. Shah called Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath “raja, maharaja and udyogpati (industrialist)” respectively, and said Digvijaya Singh as CM for 10 years acted as ‘Shriman Bantadhar (mister spoiler)’.

“We do not have to just win MP but do so with such a heavy mandate that hearts of our enemies skip a beat. If we make Chouhan CM again in 2018, Modi government will be automatically formed in 2019,” said Shah.

The Congress said it welcomed Shah to a state which had been wrecked by crimes against women, farmer suicides and malnutrition. Congress president Rahul Gandhi will visit the Gwalior-Chambal region on October 15-16, underlining its importance to both parties.

Shah in return kept up his attack on Gandhi on various issues. “Rahul Baba and company (TDP, TMC, Left, SP, BSP) do hai-tauba over the issue of infiltrators in Assam, speaking about their human rights and asking where they will go. But what about human rights of Indians when these infiltrators do bomb blasts here and snatch our jobs? BJP, on coming to power again in 2019, chun kar ghuspaithiyon ko desh se nikaalne ka kaam karegi (will identify all infiltrators and throw them out of India),” Shah said. He also took a swipe at Gandhi for claiming Congress will win Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh elections. "Rahul Baba, see dreams but while on the ground. From where will your government come – just see the election results since 2014?

On surgical strikes, Shah said: “Narendra Modi included India in the list of the only two countries, USA and Israel, who have conducted surgical strikes on their enemies. I am speaking this from the land of Tantiya Tope. Rahul Baba, you will not appreciate this as you wear Italian glasses.”

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