Indore (Madhya Pradesh): As the process for nominations is underway in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the main opposition Congress are sharpening their election pitches as the two arch rivals are in a close battle.
The reflection of the neck-and-neck fight between the principal rivals is visible in Indore district. Here, the BJP and Congress appear strong on four seats each whereas the picture in Mhow constituency remains unclear.
While BJP prospects look better in Indore-1, Indore-2, Indore-4 and Sanwer seats, the Congress appears strong in Indore-3, Indore-5, Rau and Depalpur seats. In 2018 Assembly polls, saffron party secured five and Congress four seats.
BJP's Kailash Vijayvargiya from Indore-1 against Congress candidate Sanjay Shukla | FP Photo
Indore-1: Shukla in toughest battle against Vijayvargiya
The prospects of BJP winning this seat is quite high as Congress sitting MLA Sanjay Shukla is less experienced than BJP heavyweight Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is a national level leader and a six-time MLA.
Vijayvargiya who had not lost any election so far has been fielded by BJP for wresting the Indore-1 seat from Congress. Vijayvargiya had a history of wresting seats from Congress. He had previously snatched Indore-4 in 1990, Indore-2 in 1993 and Mhow seat in 2008 from Congress.
BJP's Ramesh Mendola against Chintu Chouksey from Indore-2 | FP Photo
Indore-2: It’s a bastion of saffron party
Here, the contest is between BJP’s three-time MLA Ramesh Mendola and Chintu Chouksey of Congress. BJP has not lost any election from this seat since 1993.
Vijayvargiya represented this seat in 1993, 1995 and 2003. In 2008, he moved to Mhow paving way to his protégé Ramesh Mendol, who registered bigger wins than his political guru, from Indore-2. For the last six elections, BJP remained undefeated from this seat.
Mendola had won the last election by over 71000 votes. The victory of BJP from this seat almost looks certain. Congress men also admit to this fact on the record.
BJP's Ramesh Shukla 'Golu' and Congress' Deepak Joshi 'Pintu' from Indore-3 | FP Photo
Indore-3: Battle bit titled towards Pintu Joshi
Deepak Pintu Joshi of Congress and Rakesh Golu Shukla of BJP are in the fight for the seat. The duo has no experience of electoral politics but they come from families of seasoned politicians.
While Pintu is son of veteran leader Mahesh Joshi, who represented the seat twice, Golu is nephew of seasoned leader Vishnu Prasad Shukla. Pintu’s cousin Ashwin Joshi was also a three-time MLA from this seat.
Ashwin had defeated Golu’s cousin Rajendra Shukla from this seat in 2003. Political pundits say that Pintu, who resides in the same constituency, holds better prospects of winning the seat than Golu who resides in Indore-1 constituency.
BJP's Malini Gaud and Congress' Madhvani 'Raja' from Indore-4 | FP Photo
Indore-4: BJP unbeatable since 1990
This seat which is also called as Ayodhya of Indore is a stronghold of BJP. The saffron party has not lost any election since 1990 and looks strong in this election also. This seat was wrested by Vijayvargiya from Congress in 1990.
In 1993 to 2003, Laxman Singh Gaud won election from this seat. After his demise, his wife Malini Gaud has been winning election from this seat. Her victory margin only saw upward in every election.
The three-time MLA has again been filed from the seat. Congress has granted a ticket to Raja Mandhwani from this seat. However, Gaud is considered stronger than Mandhwani on this seat.
Mahendra Hardia of BJP against Satyanarayan Patel of Congress from Indore-5 | FP Photo
Indore-5: Patel stronger than 4-time MLA Hardia!
Old political rivals, Mahendra Hardia of BJP and Satyanarayan Patel of Congress are contesting election from this seat.
While the BJP has fielded four-time MLA this seat, the anti-incumbency against him is too strong. Thus Patel has an edge. In 2018, Patel had tasted defeat at the hands of Hardia by a slender margin of 1133 votes.
Congress' Jitu Patwari v/s BJP's Madhu Verma from Rau | FP Photo
Rau: Odds appear are in favour of Patwari
Two-time Congress MLA and ex-minister Jitu Patwari and BJP’s MadhuVerma are in contest in this constituency.
The two had faced each other in previous elections also with Patwari winning by a margin of 5703 votes. BJP reposed its faith in Verma and gave ticket to him on August 17.
Though Verma has been active in the field once again, the Khati community of the constituency, which remains the deciding factor, has resolved to vote in favour of Patwari. So his prospects are better than that of Verma.
BJP's Manoj Patel and Congress' Vishal Patel from Depalpur | FP Photo
Depalpur: Congress hopes of ‘Vishal victory’
It’s once again Patel vs Patel in Depalpur. Both the BJP and Congress have fielded their old candidates Manoj Patel and Vishal Patel (sitting MLA) respectively from this seat. Like Depalpur, Khati community votes remain a deciding factor on this seat as well.
That’s why both the parties have fielded candidates who come from Khati samaj. The candidate having support from other communities as well is going to have had the last laugh. As many locals are cross with Manoj Patel as he remains inaccessible, Congress is hoping for a big victory on this seat.
Congress' Reena Bourasi Setiya v/s BJP's Tulsi Silawat from Sanwer | FP Photo
Sanwer: Scindia’s lieutenant stronger than Congress’ candidate
Minister and sitting MLA Tulsiram Silawat, who is considered as a lieutenant of civil aviation minister Jyotiratidya Scindia, is in a fight with Congress candidate Reena Baurasi Setiya.
Reena is daughter of senior Congress leader Premchand Guddu. He was defeated by Silawat by more than 53000 votes in by-poll held in 2020. Given the development works done by him, Silawat is hoping to win the poll against first time candidate Reena. And his hopes do not seem to be flimsy.
Usha Thakur and Ram Kishore Shukla from Mhow | FP Photo
Mhow: Minister Vs turncoat; winner status unclear
Cultural minister Usha Thakur and Ramkishore Shukla, who had crossed over from BJP to Congress just a month before election was announced are in a fight from this seat.
While a three-time Thakur, who haven’t tasted defeat in assembly elections contested so far, is in a tough contest with Shukla as local anti-incumbency against her is very strong.
But the chances of Shukla winning elections is also not good as Congress leader Antar Singh Darbar, who is sulking over denial of ticket, has threatened to contest as an independent candidate. Even if Darbar withdraws his threat and chances of Shukla winning without his support looks bleak. So, the picture is unclear in Mhow.