Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will not be heading to elections in 2022 however neither the BJP nor the Congress is resting straightforward in India’s heartland. Other than defending their respective citadels, each try to maintain their flock collectively amid challenges from inside, whereas bracing for impression from UP polls.
In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP is eyeing consolidation whereas the Congress kinds out inner squabbles that noticed it lose energy regardless of profitable the 2018 elections. Barring bypoll setbacks in Damoh and Raigaon, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has largely gone from power to power since returning to Shyamla Hills, the place the CM’s official residence is situated, in 2020.
In his fourth time period, Chouhan has been in a position to convey that he’s removed from executed and may nonetheless convey dwelling ballot victories. This was essential amid hypothesis of the BJP changing him with leaders like Prahlad Patel, Narendra Singh Tomar, BJP state chief VD Sharma and state Dwelling Minister Narottam Mishra. However progressively, Chouhan positioned himself a notch above obvious competitors.
Within the Union Cupboard reshuffle of July 2021, Patel suffered a demotion when he went from being Minister of State (Unbiased Cost) within the Tradition Ministry to MoS in Jal Shakti and Meals Processing ministries.
VD Sharma additionally suffered a setback when his technique backfired in Raigaon bypoll. The BJP fielded late MLA Jugal Kishore Bagri’s daughter-in-law Pratima Bagri as an alternative of his son Pushpraj Bagri as Chouhan needed. Pratima Bagri was finally defeated by Congress candidate Kalpana Verma.
Leaders like Kailash Vijayvargiya do match the mass attraction of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, however the former comes with a baggage of controversies that don’t make him interesting to the occasion management, says a senior journalist.
A stronger problem, analysts say, comes from Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia who jumped ship from the Congress to the BJP in March 2020. Shedding his regal picture — Scindia belongs to the erstwhile royal household of Gwalior — the Rajya Sabha MP has enhanced his public presence and mass contact efforts, notably within the Gwalior-Chambal and Malwa areas the place his household enjoys a very good following. He has additionally elevated his participation in occasion actions.
The Scindia scion just lately made it evident that he’s in no temper to play second fiddle with a mega rally in arch-rival Digvijaya Singh’s hometown Raghogarh. Including insult to harm, on the rally, Scindia welcomed Harendra Singh into the BJP. Harendra is the son of former Congress MLA Mool Singh who was an in depth confidant of Digvijaya.
Nonetheless, requested just a few months in the past if could be the BJP’s CM candidate in 2023, Scindia stated he was working below Chouhan like different leaders. “I’m fairly comfortable to discover a place within the hearts of the general public with my exhausting work and honesty,” he stated.
Analysts say all is nicely between Chouhan and Scindia within the present time period at the least for the reason that latter has an extended technique to go to cement acceptance and attraction amongst BJP cadre.
“In my private opinion, Shivraj is definitely the BJP’s finest guess for this tenure and the 2023 meeting ballot in addition to he has winnability. He’s somebody who doesn’t foster ego and believes in adjusting with everybody below or round him, like he did with Jyotiraditya Scindia when the necessity arose,” a political analyst informed News18.
A giant a part of consolidating his place within the occasion is the function Chouhan performs for the BJP exterior MP. In 2022, the Madhya Pradesh CM will likely be a key campaigner within the Uttar Pradesh elections. Being a distinguished OBC face, Chouhan is certain to be known as up as a star campaigner in UP.
However it received’t be all clean crusing for Chouhan. His in-tray is stuffed with duties like placing the state’s Covid-hit financial system again on observe, ironing out discontent creeping up amongst cadre after the induction of Scindia and his loyalists, and getting the caste equation proper in campaigning for 2023 elections.
Most just lately, the Jobat bypoll ticket to former Congress chief Sulochna Rawat additional fueled unrest amongst cadre, and her win ruffled feathers. Senior leaders like Jaibhan Singh Pavaiya, Ajay Vishnoi, Jayant Malaiya, Gopal Bhargav, Gaurishankar Shejwar, Kusum Mahdele and Vijendra Sisodia have repeatedly expressed displeasure over the presence of “outsiders” within the occasion group.
These components will take a look at Chouhan’s recognition and winnability within the Panchayat and concrete physique polls due in early 2022, performing as a precursor to the Meeting elections a yr later.
Whereas the BJP is broadly tipped to get pleasure from clean crusing, Chouhan can’t threat giving the Congress psychological edge earlier than 2023 though the grand previous occasion doesn’t appear to be in preventing form within the state.
It nonetheless has the herculean activity of setting its home so as and settling the management query. As Madhya Pradesh Congress chief, Kamal Nath has to take care of rebellious overtones from senior leaders like Ajay Singh and Arun Yadav, whereas balancing an unpredictable partnership with Digvijaya Singh.
If not a sweeping win, the occasion should at the least give the BJP a very good struggle in 2022’s native physique polls to regain some floor and increase cadre morale after shedding energy in 2020, say political specialists.
Madhya Pradesh isn’t the one state the place the Congress is combating infighting. In neighbouring Chhattisgarh, this drawback is extra profound because it’s one of many few states the place it stays in energy.
The Bhupesh Baghel authorities’s midway mark in energy in June this yr was marred by claims from the TS Singh Deo camp, which demanded that the occasion honour a rotational CM formulation it stated was agreed upon in 2018. After a number of rounds of talks and excessive command intervention, the tussle was seemingly settled in Baghel’s favour, particularly when the CM was elevated because the senior observer for UP polls to work alongside Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
However hypothesis is rife as as to if the Deo camp has given up its declare to energy for good, or whether it is simply biding time till UP outcomes are out. A senior political analyst within the state is of the view that Deo is in wait-and-watch mode, and can reveal his playing cards in case the Congress gala’s poorly in UP.
Sources say occasion veteran Charandas Mahant can also be not too happy with Baghel and will pose further headache for the CM Baghel in case Deo raises his riot once more.
It could, nevertheless, be untimely to put in writing off the CM. Baghel has been hailed for his political maturity as he was fast to accommodate many of the MLAs with political appointments, the absence of which reportedly fueled discontent in MP. Consultants additionally see the UP duty entrusted to Baghel as an indication of excessive command’s backing for the chief.
A political analyst, nevertheless, stated the Congress would require Baghel to woo Kurmi voters in UP, however there’s some confusion as as to if he’s from the Thakur or Kurmi group. This might depart Baghel with the difficult activity of spelling out his caste credentials earlier than the UP elections.
Baghel’s fortunes additionally rely on how a lot floor the Group of 23 or G23 features within the Congress. G23 is a bunch of senior Congress leaders who had written a letter of discontent to Sonia Gandhi, looking for organizational elections and extra say for occasion veterans in election methods.