BHOPAL : ‘Kya haar mein, kya jeet mein, kinchit nahin bhaybheet mein’, (Defeat or victory; I am afraid of none), says a poem of Atal Behari Vajpayee. And what is surprising is that these lines consoling a loser have been printed in bold relief in posters put up by the BJP in the poll-bound Maihar Assembly constituency. And the surprise does not end here. The BJP’s ‘Vikas Purush’ Narendra Modi and poster boy Amit Shah are missing from the publicity material of the party. The poster quoting Vajpayee’s poems carries his photo, besides that of the party’s candidate Narayan Tripathi and of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

Inkling of a defeat or being prepared for the worst? It is anybody’s guess.

What, however, is a fact is that the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan is consciously keeping away from the campaigning in Maihar. Apparently, he is not in a mood to put his prestige at stake, as he had done in Ratlam LS bye-polls, which the party lost.

Chauhan would campaign in Maihar in the last phase so that even if the party loses, it would not be seen as his personal defeat. Chauhan has not visited Maihar after filing of the nominations by the party candidate Narayan Tripathi. BJP State President Nandkumar Singh Chauhan is also keeping away from Maihar.

BJP is not very hopeful of positive results in Maihar bye-polls and its leaders have begun efforts to ensure that they are not blamed for the likely debacle.

Canvassing has been left to Energy Minister Rajendra Shukla and Divisional Organisational Secretary of Rewa, Chandrashekhar Jha. State General Secretary Vinod Gotia and MLA Sanjay Pathak too, who normally look after election-related issues, are also missing from this temple town.

BJP, which spent lavishly in Ratlam-Jhabua bypolls, is economising in Maihar. Resentment against Tripathi and a strong anti-incumbency sentiment against Satna MP Ganesh Singh is very palpable. Understandably, no leader is putting his prestige at stake in these bypolls. The statement of Nandkumar that Maihar had never been BJP’s traditional seat also reflects his doubts over victory in Maihar. Chauhan would campaign in the last two-three days. In the bye-polls held so far, Chauhan campaigned on a massive scale. In Maihar, Chauhan tried to win over Panchayat representatives and leaders of other castes to

create a favourable environment for the party. Despite all this, the BJP is unsure of victory.

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