BHOPAL: Winning the Ater assembly by-polls has become a challenge for the BJP. The party feels that it will sail through in Bandhavgarh easily but Ater would be a hard nut to crack. Top party leaders have decided to stay put in Ater till the end of campaigning. Home minister Bhupendra Singh is leading the BJP poll effort in Bandhavgarh.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has reached Ater and he will stay put there till the end of campaigning on April 7. He will be addressing more than 20 public meetings over the next two days and would also hold meetings with party workers. Besides Chouhan, union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, state party chief Nandkumar Singh Chouhan, minister Narottam Mishra, national vice-president Prabhat Jha and organisational general secretary Suhas Bhagat are also camping at Ater.
Additionally, senior BJP leaders have been deployed at the booth level. The BJP fears a sympathy wave in favour of the Congress candidate Hemant Katare.
The bye-polls have been necessitated due to the death of Heman’t father Satyadev Katare. It also apprehends that Chouhan’s comment on the Scindia family may also cost the party candidate Arvind Bhadoria dear.
Jyotiraditya Scindia is holding the fort from the Congress side. Besides conducting road shows, he is also addressing public meetings. The morale of the local party workers has been boosted by Scindia taking over the leadership of the campaign. Scindia is crafting the poll strategy of the party.
The BJP does not want the Congress to win the polls as it fears that the victory would be a shot in the arm for Scindia and he would emerge stronger in the 2018 assembly polls.