BHOPAL: The tempo for first phase elections has increased in the state. In the first phase of elections in the state and fourth in the country, polling will take place in Chhindwara, Mandla, Balaghat, Sidhi and Shahdol constituencies. The programmes of campaigning in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and national Congress president Rahul Gandhi have also arrived. In the fourth phase of elections, the contest between Congress and BJP seems to be close.
In the elections for six constituencies, Congress seems to be dominating on two seats while BJP appears to be leading on two seats. There is close contest between the two parties on two seats. Nakul Nath, son of chief minister Kamal Nath, is contesting from Chhindwara. BJP has fielded Natthan Shah against him. Nakul Nath seems to be leading in campaigning. Despite first time, Nakul Nath is getting public support. BJP candidate is proving to be weak before Nath. BJP candidate Riti Pathak faces former leader of Opposition Ajay Singh from Sidhi seat. There is resentment against Pathak at local level. Singh is getting benefit of this resentment.
There is dissent in BJP leaders too, which has led Singh to emerge as a strong candidate. The support of Kol, Patel, Brahmin and Thakur communities appears to be in Congress’s favour. State BJP president Rakesh Singh faces Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha as his opponent from Jabalpur seat. Singh, who has been MP for three times from this seat, appears to be outweighing Tankha this time too. Congress has also deputed two ministers namely Tarun Bhanot and Lakhan Ghanghoria to look after election affairs in Jabalpur. Singh’s public connection has put him in leading position. Tankha may be getting support from elite classes but his work at grass root level seems weak. BJP candidate Himadri Singh is having Congress candidate Pramila Singh as her opponent on Shahdol seat.
Himadri as Congress candidate is contesting for the first time from this seat. Her father Dalbir Singh and mother Rajesh Nandini Singh had been MPs from this seat. Pramila had left BJP and joined Congress. She is facing problems as she lags behind in campaigning across the constituency. Congress has fielded Madhu Bhagat against BJP candidate Dhal Singh Bisen from Balaghat seat. Bisen is facing opposition within his own party. MP Bodh Singh Bhagat is also in the fray as an independent candidate. Congress candidate is also working hard. Kankar Munjare of Samajwadi Party would also affect votes of BJP and Congress party.
The contest at this seat is said to be quadrangular and tough. Congress candidate Kamal Maravi from Mandla is said to be low profile compared to his opponent and BJP candidate Phaggan Singh Kulaste. BJP was lagging behind in this seat during assembly polls also. Despite resentment against Kulaste, the contest between Kulaste and Maravi is tough. Kulaste is facing resentment at local level.