It is Kamal Nath Vs BJP in Chhindwara Seat

Bhopal: ‘Kamal Nath legacy’ had been the major stumbling block for BJP in its bid to breach its final frontier in Madhya Pradesh- Chhindwara- in the last 12 Lok Sabha polls.

In this poll too, the die is cast for a ‘Kamal Nath VS BJP’ battle in Chhindwara with the Congress veteran’s son Nakul, who is seeking re-election in the picturesque constituency, remaining under his shadow.

Seventy eight-year-old Nath Senior, veteran of nine Lok Sabha and two Assembly elections, has been seen crisscrossing the hilly region of Chhindwara in the last three months visiting village after village to canvas for his son.

Amid desertion of his party loyalists in the constituency as well as high voltage campaign launched by BJP to wrest the seat from Congress, Mr Nath has sought to ‘strengthen his bonding’ with the electorates with emotional appeals reminding them of his contribution for the development of a backward region like Chhindwara.

“I have spent my entire youth for the development of Chhindwara. I want to serve Chhindwara till my last breath”, has been his constant refrain during his addresses to the locals.

His close confidants have admitted that the campaign has been ‘hit to some extent’ due to desertion of some of his loyalists in Congress in Chhindwara.

“I have never seen Mr Nath under so much pressure in the past. He tried hard to stop the exodus of leaders in the Congress in Chhindwara”, a senior Congress leader, considered close to him, told this newspaper, requesting not to be quoted.

BJP has claimed that around 2,000 Congress cadres including leaders in Chhindwara have left the party and joined BJP in the last three months.

Prominent among the senior Congress leaders of Chhindwara who quit the party and joined BJP included sitting MLA from Amarwada under Chhindwara LS seat Kamlesh Pratap Shah, a descendant of Gond tribe royal family, mayor of local civic body Vikram Ahake, the first tribal in the state to hold the post, and former minister Deepak Saxena.

“Mr Nath has only promoted his wife and son by making them candidates in Chhindwara in different elections, thus carrying forward the dynastic politics. Mr Nath’s family has been holding the constituency for the last 44 years. People in Chhindwara have taken note of it in this poll”, BJP state secretary Rajneesh Agrawal said.

His son Nakul Nath, who won the seat in his electoral debut in 2019 LS polls, is seen covering remote areas in the constituency with chopper rides.

“We have started our campaign in February this year with ‘Aabhaar Yatra’ to mobilise booth level workers and connect the people in Chhindwara district. In fact, Mr Nath has literally been camping in Chhindwara since then”, a Congress leader said, unwilling to be quoted.

BJP has started building a campaign narrative of ‘outsider VS son of the soil’ by dubbing Nath Junior as ‘outsider’ and the party’s candidate Vivek Bunty Sahu as son of the soil.

The vote share of Congress in the last two polls has come down from 50.54 percent in 2014 LS elections to 47.06 percent in the last polls whereas the vote share of BJP has increased over the last two LS polls from 40.02 percent to 44.05 percent.

Chhindwara is going to LS polls in the first phase of elections in Madhya Pradesh along with five other seats on April 19.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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