BHOPAL: The BJP and the Congress are emphasising the caste equation to win the by-election in Damoh. The BJP has fielded Rahul Lodhi and the Congress Ajay Tandon.
The number of voters belonging to the Lodhi community is very high in Damoh. That benefited Rahul Lodhi in the Vidhan Sabha elections of 2018. Tandon belongs to the Brahmin community. As Tandon is also influential among the businessmen community, he is trying to woo the people of both the groups.
Former minister Jayant Malaiya is also working for the BJP. He has influence over the Jain community. For that reason, the BJP feels their votes will go to the party.
The Muslim votes will go to the Congress. Besides, the party is pulling out all the stops to woo the people of the SC community.
The Congress thinks that, if it gets the votes of the Brahmin, Muslim, Scheduled Caste and Jain communities, the party will win the seat.
According to sources, of the 2.36 lakh voters, 15% are Lodhis, 6% Kushwahas including 40% OBCs. Besides, 9% of the voters are Jains and 5.6% Brahmins. In all, there are 25% voters of the general category.
Apart from that, 20% of voters belong to the SC category, 5% to the tribal community, 7.5% to the Muslim community and 2% of the voters are Christians.
Star campaigners also see caste factor
The BJP, as well as the Congress, has issued a list of star campaigners for the Damoh Vidhan Sabha by-election. The importance of the caste factor can also be seen in the choice of star campaigners.
Keeping the Lodhi community in mind, the BJP’s list contains the names of Uma Bharti and Pahlad Patel. To woo OBC voters, Prabhuram Choudhary, Lal Singh Arya and Thawarchand Gehlot were included in the list.
Besides Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and other important leaders of the BJP, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia and the party’s national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya are on the list of star campaigners.
Two sadhvis — Sadhana Bharti and Ramshri Bharti — are among the star campaigners of the Congress. Both are from the Lodhi community.
Apart from them, to woo Muslims, Arif Masood and, to woo SC voters, Sajjan Singh Verma have been made star campaigners.
Besides, the list of star campaigners includes Lakhan Ghanghoria, Phool Singh Baraiya, Surendra and Vipin Vankhede. The list consists of the names of MPCC president Kamal Nath, former chief minister Divgijaya Singh and other leaders.