Gwalior/Bhind (Madhya Pradesh), Nov 11:There is a visible change in electioneering mood in the central Indian state.
Unlike 2013 – five years ago - when every Congress supporter and leader did not seem to mind Shivraj Singh Chouhan getting some mileage vis-a-vis Narendra Modi and 2002 riots, this time around the aggressive anguish of the BJP detractors and also a section of traditional BJP supporters is apparently more against the Chief Minister.
With 2014 polls in mind, the Congress leaders were supposedly sympathetic to Shivraj Singh Chouhan during 2013 assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, say a section of voters.
This school of thought points out even after the results of 2013 polls, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia had said the Madhya Pradesh polls outcome was "no endorsement of Narendra Modi".
In other words, he seemed to give a pat on Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's back - who is in coveted office since November 2005.
“In 2013, Congress, Communists and other BJP baiters made beeline in Madhya Pradesh trying to drive home the point that Narendra Modi does not have national stature. Most of them also said the blemish of the 2002 anti-Muslim riots remained as a blot on Modi.....Lok Sabha polls of 2014 was on sight. But this time, the same leaders seek to direct their anguish against Shivraj Singh Chouhan and paint him as all-time failure,” says teacher Prahlad Acharya in Gwalior.
The politics seemed to have undergone a sea change in these five years as Modi has been ruling India for last four and half years and Shivraj Singh Chouhan as a BJP chief minister has hardly acquired any status for political skills to challenge the aura about ‘Moditva’.
BJP poll managers understand the spirit of this transition and hence they have come out with a series of powerful audio-visual ads wherein common villagers, bus drivers and housewives – speak ‘bad’ about Congress rule and end the campaign saying: “Maaf Karo Maharaj, Hamara Neta Shivraj”.
Now, how much these would yield dividends of course remains to be seen.
But amid these debates, politically sensitive people in the region say issues before the people have remained the ‘same and unchanged' as was perhaps five years ago and also earlier.
“Come what may in terms of politics, we understand less and care even much lesser. But what is important to highlight as a voter is the Modi-led NDA government has failed to check inflation especially fuel price. In the state, Shivraj Singh government also failed in delivery and also got embroiled in several high-profile corruption scandals,” says shopkeeper Bina Trivedi in Bhind.
Many citizens say both Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Narendra Modi have actually operated as ‘smart’ players and created smokescreen about developments in their images.
“But the mask seems to be falling and thus BJP is on way out in Madhya Pradesh,” says Bina Trivedi.
Hence, even among die-hard BJP supporters, the enthusiasm is presumably ‘less’ and thus it seems to be only natural course that both the Chief Minister (Chouhan) and the Prime Minister (Modi) are getting all the blame.
In more ways than one, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is getting the maximum blame.
A section of BJP supporters are definitely aggrieved over Modi government’s indifference to the sentiment of the upper castes.
“The Prevention of SC-ST Atrocities Act ordering immediate arrest of upper caste people is most undemocratic piece of law endorsed by the Modi government. Upper castes people have always sided with the BJP, but this law is not tolerable especially after the Supreme Court said it is wrong,” says 34-year-old Kamal Kishore Bisht.
Agreeing with him another upper caste youth, Trishanku Sharma says: “The politics of backward caste appeasement will prove costly for BJP. This black law must be withdrawn”. (UNI)