Bhopal, Nov 19 (IANS) Defections ahead of the assembly election in Madhya Pradesh have been, mostly one way this time – from the BJP to the Congress — as several big leaders including some from old saffron families have made a switch over to secure their political future.
Political observers claimed that this time Madhya Pradesh has witnessed a reverse trend of defections in the run up to the assembly elections. For the last few years the defections used to happen from the Congress to the BJP. The Scindia factor seems to have acted as a major catalyst in the reversal of the trend.
Importantly, one of the primary poll issues in Madhya Pradesh was the BJP’s toppling of the 15-month-old Kamal Nath-led Congress government in March 2020 with the help of Jyotiraditya Scindia, who defected with 22 MLAs, including six ministers. The Congress leadership has highlighted this, hitting on Scindia’s credibility during the campaign.
Polling for all 230 assembly seats was held on Friday with a 76.22 per cent voter turnout, the highest in the past 66 years of the electoral history in Madhya Pradesh. Subsequent to this, political analysts have begun their assessments about the outcome with the high voter turnout. At the same time, the political observers are also trying to evaluate whether the turncoats will have an impact on the poll results? If yes, then to what extent and whom will it favour?
In this context, the situation favours the Congress in many ways more than the ruling BJP because the shifting of a large number of leaders from the saffron party to the opposition has helped to set up a narrative. Secondly, the defections were largely from the Gwalior-Chambal area and have dented Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia in his bastion. Many of his loyalists, who had joined the BJP in 2020, have not only made their ‘ghar-wapsi’ but were also vocal against him.
The Congress has fielded merely four-five candidates who have come from the BJP, but most of them are likely to win. Former BJP minister Deepak Joshi, who is the son of ex-CM Kailash Joshi, dealt a major blow to the BJP when he joined the Congress in May this year. He is contesting the election from the Khategaon assembly constituency in Dewas district.
The Congress has fielded former BJP MLA Girija Shankar Sharma from Hoshangabad against his brother and three-time MLA Sitasharan Sharma. Abhay Mishra, a former BJP MLA, is contesting on a Congress ticket from the Semaria seat in Rewa. Mishra and his wife Neelam Mishra have together won two assembly elections from this particular seat in 2008 and 2013.
Another former BJP leader and Scindia loyalist, who is contesting the election on a Congress ticket is Samandar Patel, whose shifting to the grand old party has caught attention from all corners because of a convoy of over 100 vehicles from Jawad to Bhopal. He is contesting the election from Jawad seat in Neemuch district against the BJP’s Om Prakash Saklecha.
The BJP has fielded Siddharth Tiwari, the grandson of former Assembly Speaker Sriniwas Tiwari, from Rewa’s Tenothar seat, and his position is said to be strong due to being a Brahmin face.