Gandhwani (Madhya Pradesh): The Gandhwani assembly constituency in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh is a tribal-dominated seat. The majority of the population in the seat comprises indigenous tribal communities. The battle between the Congress and the BJP in this region is fierce, as they spare no effort to secure victory. Their campaign strategies and outreach initiatives reflect their determination to win the seat and gain political dominance among the tribals.
Congress kept faith in former cabinet minister Umang Singhar, who has been representing the seat for Congress since the last three elections. He has inherited the political legacy of his aunt and former deputy chief minister, Jamuna Devi, who was a prominent figure in the party and held significant positions during her tenure. BJP fielded district panchayat president Sardar Meda against Singhar, aiming to stretch his winning streak here in the Gandhwani seat. BJP has been actively engaging with the voters in Gandhwani, highlighting their plans for economic growth and infrastructure development. This has created a sense of anticipation among the electorate as they weigh the track record of Congress against the promises made by the BJP.
Ultimately, it will be up to the voters to decide whether they want to stick with the familiar or take a chance on new leadership.
Facts related to Gandhwani seat
Among the seven constituencies in Dhar district, Gandhwani is considered to be a bit hilly. This assembly is the largest in Dhar district and is comprised of three development blocks, including Gandhwani, Bagh, and Tirla.
Here, the candidates have to work harder to make public contact with the voters. Constituencies like Manawar, Sardarpur Kukshi, Jobat, and Jhabua are connected to this seat. In Gandhwani, there are mainly two castes of tribal society: Bhalala and Beel. Current MLA Umang Sindhar also comes from this class.
Political history of Gandhwani
Jamuna Devi was a strong leader from this tribal area. Along with her, Umang Singhar's hold also became stronger among the tribals. His popularity was largely attributed to his alignment with Jamuna Devi's leadership and commitment to addressing the needs and concerns of the tribal population. Gandhwani remains a stronghold of Congress. Since delimitation, Umang has been in control of the seat, winning all 2008, 2013, and 2018 elections for Congress.
Voters Scenario (2023)
Total Voters: 2,34,742
Voting Scenario (2018)
Total Voting: 75.57%
Umang Singhar (Cong): 96,899 (57.53%)
Sardarsingh Medha (BJP): 58,068 (34.48%)
Winning margin: 38,831 (23.05%)
Why is BJP keeping an eye on Singhar?
Being the biggest assembly constituency in Dhar district with a majority of tribal votes, the BJP always wants to strengthen itself in the tribal areas. In the year 2020, when 22 MLAs joined BJP along with Jyotiraditya Scindia, leading to the downfall of Kamal Nath’s government, Umang had claimed that he had received an offer of Rs 50 crore and ministership from the BJP.
Even during the Presidential elections, Umang had claimed that he had received an offer from BJP to support the NDA candidate. Many believed that gaining support from the tribal communities was crucial for its overall political influence and electoral success. By focusing on strengthening its presence in these areas, the BJP aims to connect with the unique needs and aspirations of the tribal population.
PROBLEMS AT A GLANCE
NO MAJOR INDUSTRIES: No major steps have been taken to bring some industries here. As a result of this, the majority of people move to other places in search of jobs, or sometimes to other states as well.
ILLEGAL ARMS UNIT: Many illegal arms manufacturing units are still operating in the area, bringing a bad name to this constituency. These illegal arms manufacturing units not only contribute to the region's negative reputation but also pose a significant threat to safety and security.
LACK OF GOOD EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS: Due to this, many students are forced to either move to other places or leave education in the middle. Though Singhar opened colleges, this is not enough to meet the need. The limited educational options contribute to a cycle of limited opportunities and perpetuate socio-economic disparities among the residents.
What candidates to say?
Sitting MLA and Congress candidate Singar said, “Despite being in the opposition, I got so much work done, but still I have to get the work of providing water to the fields from Del Baba Dam and Mahi Dam.” Singar expressed frustration at the lack of progress in providing water to the fields from Del Baba Dam and Mahi Dam, emphasising that it is a pressing issue for the local farmers. He highlighted the importance of addressing this issue promptly to ensure agricultural productivity and support the livelihoods of the farming community.
“On healthcare, I’d established oxygen plants during the COVID-19 period in Tanda Bagh and Gandhwani. These oxygen plants were crucial in providing life-saving oxygen to the local communities. The establishment of these plants helped alleviate the shortage of oxygen and contributed to saving numerous lives during this challenging time.
BJP candidate and district panchayat president Sardar Meda said that there has been no development in the last decade in the area. Meda emphasised that despite the tall promises made by Singhar, the area has not witnessed any significant progress or improvement in basic infrastructure, education, or healthcare facilities. He stated that if elected, he would prioritise addressing these issues and work towards bringing much-needed development to the region.
“Once I get elected, my priority will be to bring people who are involved in the illegal arms business into mainstream society. This will automatically stop this illegal business. By implementing comprehensive rehabilitation programmes, we can provide opportunities for individuals involved in the illegal arms business to reintegrate into society.” A big industry will be set up here so that the people need not go to other places. Agricultural fields in the area will get water for irrigation from dams, he said.