Civic body elections were held in Madhya Pradesh on 16 Aug, of the total 43 local bodies, BJP won 26, Congress 14 and three seats were nailed by Independents. While Congress managed to increase its tally by five, BJP’s tally went down by three seats. The farmer’s agitation witnessed by the state in July demanding an increase in the minimum support price on all farm products and a complete loan waive off gave a tough time to the Shivraj Singh Chouhan led government in Madhya Pradesh. The tensions gained heights and the failure of the government to curb the situation was highlighted when 5 protesting farmers died in a police firing, trying to control the agitation.
The inability of Shivraj to handle the situation and the people’s resentment against the government was seen in the results of the local body polls. BJP has been ruling the state since 2003 and to ensure its rule party president Amit Shah is on a three-day tour to the state. It has become the need of the hour for the party to find and implement every possible way to gain back the soon fading confidence of the public and increasing its vote base by wooing the Dalits and other communities.
Congress had alleged that the state government in Madhya Pradesh is involved in corrupt activities and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah is stone-faced regarding the BJP government’s involvement in a number of scams at MP. It also criticised the government over the Vyapam scam that has seen several suspicious deaths over the last few months has also won a lot of criticism for the Chouhan government.
During his three-day visit, Shah is likely to discuss the poll results with BJP office-bearers, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and central leaders associated with the state. He will be meeting the BJP state core group, its local-level workers from the state, as well as the senior leaders and discuss the issues and challenges faced by the party. While addressing a gathering of BJP MLAs, MPs and other office bearers of Madhya Pradesh, Shah set the target for the assembly polls due in 2018 to 200 seats and all 29 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He also instructed the party members not to receive donations in form of black money. He instructed them to accept the donation only through cheques and drafts.
Shah arrived in Madhya Pradesh on Friday and was welcomed by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, state BJP Chief Nand Kumar Chouhan, BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and National Vice President Prabhat Jha. However, he expressed his displeasure at the long welcoming ceremony. According to the sources, Shah has also advised the members not to leak the details of the meetings held.
BJP since at rule from 2003 has managed to win anti-incumbency in the state, though the recent events have triggered commotion within the party and a demand to replace Shivraj Singh. However, central leadership has ensured that the differences among the leaders do not harm the party as Shah announced on Friday that the 2018 assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh will be fought under the leadership of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Meanwhile, Congress is also all geared up to fight both the Assembly polls and Lok Sabha polls with equal zeal and ambition to match with that o BJP. Disarray in the Congress unit in Madhya Pradesh where the party has several chief ministerial hopefuls who work at cross-purposes has been of big help to BJP till now. But now with the Central party all set to stand confidently against BJP with the united opposition, the scenarios are changing. Congress is making an attempt to fight the next Assembly polls unitedly by giving key posts at the Centre to those party leaders it does not want to interfere in state politics.