Dancing To Banjara Tune: BJP, Congress Vie To Seek Community's Favour  

Dancing To Banjara Tune: BJP, Congress Vie To Seek Community's Favour  

Electoral Showdown In Neemuch.

Pankaj MalikUpdated: Saturday, October 14, 2023, 10:59 PM IST
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Dancing To Banjara Tune: BJP, Congress Vie To Seek Community's Favour   | FP Cartoon

Neemuch (Madhya Pradesh): Neemuch district presents a challenging scenario for the ruling BJP as it aims to replicate their impressive 2018 electoral performance when they managed to secure all three seats, despite widespread farmer protests in neighboring Mandsaur. The Congress, on the other hand, is vigorously working to capitalize on any potential voter dissatisfaction and make inroads into the BJP's stronghold.

Both political parties are sparing no effort in their attempts to woo voters, specially focusing on winning the support of the Banjara community, which is expected to play a crucial role in determining the upcoming election's outcome. Voters too are closely observing which direction the Banjara community will lean towards.

The community, known for its strong social bonds and collective decision-making, has a history of active political participation. Their support can sway the outcome of the assembly election, compelling the political parties to devise strategies and address their specific needs and concerns.

Furthermore, the Banjara community's influence extends beyond their votes, as they have a robust network capable of rallying support and campaigning for their chosen party candidates.

Recently, the Congress organised a Banjara community rally in the area, under the banner of Banjara Samaj Coordination Cell and the Nomadic Cell of Congress. The objective was to emphasise the perceived anti-Banjara stance of the BJP government and foster a favorable atmosphere for the Congress party.

Narsingh Gaur, the district president of the Congress Nomadic Cell, alleged that none of the promises made by Shivraj Singh in the past 18 years have been fulfilled and so there is resentment among the community. The discontent may influence the upcoming assembly elections, he warned.

In Figures

Neemuch Dist 6.1 lakh voters

Assembly Constituency

Neemuch 2,28,512

Manasa 1,99,929

Jawad 1,81,639

In the 2018 elections, BJP candidates secured substantial victories: the Manasa assembly seat by over 25,000 votes, and Neemuch and Jawad by 14,000 and 4,500 votes, respectively.

Community constitutes 10% of electorate

As per the data available, the district has between 60,000 and 70,000 Banjara voters, constituting approximately 10 percent of the total electorate. In Neemuch district, there are around 35,000 to 40,000 Banjara voters, while Manasa and Jawad each have between 10,000 and 20,000 voters from this community. Considering the weight of Banjara votes in these outcomes, it's evident that the Banjara community's concerns and support are pivotal factors in determining election results. Connecting with and addressing these concerns will be crucial for both political parties.

Community yet to open their cards

Both the BJP and Congress are actively campaigning and making pledges to win support of the community members. Notably, a representative of the Banjara community, R Sagar Kachhawa, whose wife won district panchayat member election, was previously associated with Congress. Kachhawa, now a district panchayat member representative, talking to Free Press, emphasized that the Banjara community's votes would go to the party that offers concrete solutions to their issues. Kachhawa stated, “We know very well that the voters of our community can change the equations of assembly elections here. While the recent rally was organised by the Congress, I am now an independent, and will wholeheartedly support any initiatives that benefit the Banjara community."

BJP, Congress both claim full support of Banjara community

BJP's Neemuch district election coordinator, Mahendra Bhatnagar said that the Banjara community has been aligned with the BJP from the beginning and will continue to do so. Bhatnagar further pointed out that the BJP has given the status of Cabinet minister to the representative of the chairman of the Wanderer Cell

Congress district president Anil Chaurasia asserted they have already given significant representation to the Banjara community within the party. They have accommodated Banjara community representatives in the district executive. They are serving as president of Rampura Block Congress and a representative of district vice president.

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