BHOPAL: The BJP has deployed the big guns in Mungaoli and Kolaras constituencies, hoping to make dents in the influence of the Scindia clan in the region.
“The party has assigned responsibility of managing the election campaign and booth-level networking to prominent leaders like Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Rajya Sabha member Prabhat Jha and state higher education minister Jaybhan Singh Pavaiya,” said a BJP state functionary. In addition, ministers of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet — Rustam Singh (Morena), Maya Singh (Gwalior East), Lal Singh Arya (Lahar, Bhind) and Narottam Mishra (Datia) — will monitor booth-level workers and full-timers who have been assigned networking in rural areas.
Bypoll to Mungaoli assembly seat in Ashoknagar was necessitated by the death of former Congress minister Mahendra Singh Kalukheda. And on Diwali, senior Congress MLA from Kolaras in Shivpuri district, Ram Singh Yadav, passed away after a cardiac arrest. BJP is eyeing both seats in the Congress bastion where Lok Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia holds sway.
BJP stalwarts of Chambal division have been trying to erode Scindia’s influence in these parts. Prabhat Jha and Pavaiyya have had verbal duels with Scindia in recent times. Sources in BJP said the party has launched a massive campaign in Ashoknagar and Shivpuri districts, announcing major sops and welfare schemes to woo voters.
The Congress is also raring for the litmus test ahead of assembly elections in 2018, especially because Scindia is tipped to be the chief ministerial candidate in the next assembly elections. “Jyotiraditya Scindia has a strong influence in the area and all efforts by BJP leaders to wrest the seats have proved futile,” said a senior Congress leader.
Congress is roping in former ministers Govind Singh, Ramniwas Rawat and K P Singh aka Kakkaji for the campaign. Jaiwardhan Singh, son of AICC member Digvijaya Singh, and Hemant Satyadev Katare will tour the region before the bypolls are declared.