Sonkatch (Madhya Pradesh): Sonkatch assembly constituency of the Malwa region remains a challenge for the BJP. This is one of the 39 seats, where BJP announced its candidate well ahead of the declaration of elections, and this reflects the party's determination for a victory from here.
By establishing a strong presence and strategy ahead of time, BJP aims to overcome the challenges it has faced in this particular region of Malwa.
To win this seat, BJP has fielded Rajesh Sonkar, who earlier used to contest from the Sanwar constituency of Indore district. He has to triumph over Congress candidate and former minister Sajjan Singh Verma, who won the 2018 elections by a margin of 9,818 votes. This was also Verma’s 5th victory from this seat.
Despite the uphill battle, the BJP is determined to secure victory in Malwa by leveraging Rajesh Sonkar's experience and popularity. The party hopes to capitalise on the dissatisfaction among voters towards Sajjan Singh Verma's tenure as a former minister, which may give them an edge in this closely contested election.
Factionalism a matter of concern for BJP
Hoping a change of face could bring some cheer from the seat BJP this time fielded Sonkar against Verma. But internal rift and factionalism are matters of concern for the party.
Sources claimed that former MLA Rajendra Verma tried his best to get the ticket from here. After the announcement of ticket, Rajendra Verma came along with his supporters and expressed his strong displeasure. Besides, BJP may also have to face internal conflict.
Similarly, Sajjan Singh Verma has developed a strong network of workers in Tonk Khurd and Sonkatch areas. Although roads, water and other government schemes could not be materialised in the area, Congress leaders put the entire blame on the BJP government.
Congress argued that the lack of progress in infrastructure development was a direct result of the BJP government's negligence and failure to allocate sufficient funds for the region.
SC, Thakur votes prove decisive
Sonkatch is a tehsil of Dewas district, located on the Indore-Bhopal highway and spread across urban and rural areas. It is a reserved seat for Scheduled Caste with 40 per cent of voters belonging to the SC, while 40 per cent being Thakur.
The votes of both these castes prove to be decisive. The diverse demographics and significant representation of Scheduled Caste and Thakur voters make their opinions highly influential in shaping the political landscape of the tehsil.
In terms of total voters, assembly constituency has a total of 2,34,422 including 1,20,902 male voters and 1,13,520 females.
Voters Scenario in 2023
Total Voters: 2,34,422
Male Voters: 1,20,902
Female Voters: 1,13,520
Voting Scenario in 2018
Total Voting: 83.92%
Sajjan Singh Verma (Cong): 86,396 (48.92%)
Rajendra Verma (BJP): 76,578 (43.36%)
Winning Margin: 9,818 (5.56%)
ISSUES AT A GLANCE
LACK OF DEVELOPMENT: Despite being situated on the Indore-Bhopal State Highway connecting the state capital to the commercial capital, the area is far behind in the necessary facilities, whereas every next day prominent leaders and top bureaucrats pass through the area. This stark contrast between the presence of influential figures and the lack of development raises questions about the allocation of resources and priorities in this region.
EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION AND HEALTHCARE: These are the biggest issues in the assembly. There is no means of employment in the entire assembly; hence, the youth of the area are roaming unemployed or are working as labourers in other cities. In such a situation, thousands of people from the area are looking for employment in other cities.
There is only one government college in the name of education, but due to there being no system related to vocational education, the students here have to go to Dewas, Indore, Ujjain, and Bhopal for education, whereas the people here have asked the leaders of both the major parties thousands of times for vocational education.
Similarly, though the government hospital of Sonkatch has the status of a civil hospital, the facilities are negligible. There is lack of emergency facilities. In Bhaurasa, Pipalrawana, and Tonk Khurd tehsils of Sonkatch constituency, the situation of health, education and employment is similar to that of Sonkatch city.
Pile of problems in urban areas
There are lots of problems in Sonkatch urban areas too. There is a bus stand in the town, but buses do not come here for years, due to which the residents have to face trouble. The place has been encroached upon by anti-socials and a weekly haat market is being organised at the bus stand. The traffic system in the town has deteriorated. There is neither a playground nor a garden for the citizens.
Congress candidate Sajjan Singh Verma is asking for one more chance from the public to complete the stalled development work of Sonkatch and its adjoining areas. Verma emphasises his commitment to addressing the long-standing issues that have hindered the progress of Sonkatch. He believes that with the support of the public, he can effectively implement his plans and ensure a brighter future for the community.
BJP candidate Rajesh Sonkar is talking to the voters about the overall development of Sonkatch constituency. He emphasises the need for a clean and uninterrupted water supply, promising to implement measures to ensure the preservation of the river's ecological balance. He highlighted the various public welfare schemes being run by the state government for the uplift of people in the state. These schemes aim to assist in areas such as healthcare, education, and employment opportunities.
(With inputs from Sourabh Purohit)