The bypolls in Madhya Pradesh this time seem to be different from all the previous elections. The saffron hue, which is usually associated with the BJP, appears to be the favourite of the Congress now. The party has got several "Babas", "Sadhus" and "Gurus" to campaign for it.
Not only this, the Congress has made saffron clad Sadhvi Ram Siya Bharti its candidate from the Bada Malhera Assembly constituency.
The bypolls are going to be held in 28 Assembly seats in the state. In these elections, both political parties are putting in all their resources, but the Congress seems to be ahead of the BJP in getting sadhus and dants to campaign for it.
It is generally believed that the BJP uses sants and sadhus in elections, but the opposite is being witnessed in Madhya Pradesh. Although the BJP has two big saffron leaders -- Uma Bharti and Pragya Thakur in the state -- but their activism seems to be low key during these elections.
While the BJP is avoiding bringing sadhus to the poll forefront, the Congress is going full steam ahead with saffron. The 'Computer Baba' group is taking out a 'Save Democracy Yatra' for the Congress. The group has given a call to support Congress candidates in the state.
Similarly, "Mirchi Baba" is campaigning for the Congress. Sadhana Bharti, who is the national spokesperson of the Congress, has also hit the campaign trail.
Congress spokesperson Ajay Yadav said that while the BJP has always tried to take advantage of religion in politics, the Congress has never used religion. But now the Congress is expressing its religious feelings openly. State Congress chief Kamal Nath built a grand statue of Lord Hanuman in Chhindwara, while programmes were held at his residence and the party office before the foundation stone of the Ram temple was laid in Ayodhya.
Political analysts believe that the Congress is fighting on all fronts and that is why it is trying to use this strategy, which has given the BJP big numbers so far.
For the Congress, a team of holy men is campaigning hard. It remains to be seen how much benefit this saffron strategy will give to the Congress in the bypolls.