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No-holds-barred battles in MP, Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh is going to polls in the second and final phase on Friday. Meanwhile, the high-decibel campaign for election in 230 Assembly seats came...
Chhattisgarh is going to polls in the second and final phase on Friday. Meanwhile, the high-decibel campaign for election in 230 Assembly seats came to an end on Thursday. The main fight in both the states remains between the BJP and the Congress. The contest, according to all indicators, appears to be closer than forecast earlier. Whether there will be a clear mandate for either party or there will be another phase of political maneuvering is the real question in both the states.
In the naxal-affected Chhattisgarh, the first phase saw a high turnout of 78 per cent. The four rallies addressed by PM Modi were well attended and focussed on the corruption, particularly revolving around the Mahadev betting app scam. Naxalism and recruitment scandal also figured in the speeches. Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge and Priyanka Gandhi led the Congress campaign, stating their government would be pro-poor. Their hopes are pinned on a slew of welfare measures rolled out by the Baghel government.
But, the most interesting campaign was in MP where leaders cutting across party lines made the maximum use of events from the epics Ramayan and Mahabharat, and even movies like Sholay. After a row between former Chief Ministers Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh over distribution of Congress tickets, the grand old party dubbed them as ‘Jai and Veeru’ of the Hindi movie Sholay, played by Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra respectively. They called CM Shivraj Singh ‘Gabbar Singh,’ the villain in the movie, and accused him of looting the state. The ruling BJP for its part took a dig at the opposition, saying ‘Jai’ and ‘Veeru’ were known as “thieves” in the film. It also shot back, saying Digvijay and Kamalnath were not ‘Jai and Veeru’ but ‘Shyam and Chaine’ of another old movie ‘Mere Apne,’ who used to fight for their possession of their respective localities. Congress is a divided house and can never bring any good to state, the BJP campaigned.
Another interesting part was the bitterness between the Nehru-Gandhi clan and the erstwhile royal family of Gwalior. The bitterness that started in 2020 between Congress and Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia following Operation Lotus in 2020 turned out to be a no-holds-barred campaign in 2023. Congress called him a ‘traitor.’ Digvijay Singh called him Bikau when he quit Congress. Priyanka Gandhi went on to attack the erstwhile royal family while campaigning on his home turf Chambal region. In a sarcastic tone, she said, “Unhone apne pariwar ki parampara achhe se nibhai hai. (He is living up to the traditions of his family)” and “Scindia ji height me thoda kam rah gaye, lekin ghamand bahut bada hai unka (Scindia is a man of short height and high arrogance).”
Scindia hit back at the Gandhi family with a long post on his social media account. He called Priyanka Gandhi a “part-time politician” and said he does not expect her to have the ability to understand the difference between “these two traditions.” Scindia said his ancestors had fought against the Afghans, the Mughals, the British and had sacrificed their lives to protect the country. On the contrary, he said the Nehru-Gandhi family gifted Indian land to China. The second generation led by Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency because of her greed for power and the present generation criticises India in foreign land.
Though campaign in Telangana, too, is gaining momentum, such campaign style is not seen here. It is more focussed on using cuss words against one another – mostly between the BRS and Congress. However, who is Bikau and who is not, whether it is in MP, Chhattisgarh or TS, will be known after December 3.