Assembly elections are to be held in Madhya Pradesh next year. The biggest challenge before the Congress in the elections is to keep its tribal voters connected. The way Rahul Gandhi raised the issue of forest dwellers and tribals in the election meeting of Gujarat, it seems that his target is Madhya Pradesh. The success of the Nimar-Malwa region in the last assembly elections resulted in the return of the Congress to power.
Madhya Pradesh has more than 21 percent tribal population. Mainly it is in Malwa-Nimar and Mahakaushal region of the state. The total number of assembly seats reserved for the tribal class is 47. Rahul Gandhi’s padayatra will pass through the area of Malwa-Nimar. There are mainly Bhil, Bhilala tribals. There are a total of 66 assembly seats. There are tribal voters in every seat. Jhabua was considered to be the strongest stronghold of the Congress in the area. The example of the anti-Congress wave of 1977 has been given for this. But, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the belief changed that a candidate of any party other than the Congress cannot win the election here. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, in the wave of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the tribals of Jhabua also stood in favor of the BJP. The biggest challenge before Rahul Gandhi and the Congress is how to make a comeback in this so-called stronghold of theirs? There is an opinion that Rahul Gandhi’s popularity among tribals is not as much as that of his grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi. This is the reason why everyone is keeping an eye on Rahul’s visit and its impact.
Enthusiasm among the workers but suffering from factionalism
Rahul Gandhi’s padyatra in Madhya Pradesh will last for about twelve days. Sister Priyanka Gandhi will also be with him. Rahul Gandhi will also visit places of religious and social importance in his padyatra. It is obvious that the Congress has decided the route of the padayatra keeping in mind the political gains and losses. The program of Mhow, the birthplace of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, is on 27 November. While Ujjain will go for Mahakal Darshan on December 1. Through Rahul-Priyanka, the effort of the big Congress leaders is that their workers come out of the atmosphere of desperation and start preparing for the elections. Congress factionalism has also disappointed the worker. It does not seem that even after Rahul-Priyanka move out of the state, the Congress factionalism will end. Rahul Gandhi is not having any direct communication with the workers during his padyatra. The big problem of Congress is also the situation of communication gap. Whereas in the main opposition party BJP, constant communication is maintained with its workers at every level. BJP’s national general secretary and state in-charge do not face any problem in communicating with their workers. Whereas in Congress, the in-charge tries to end factionalism only by making dialogues with big leaders.
It is difficult to maintain the effect of padayatra till elections
The electoral politics of Madhya Pradesh is two-party. Congress and BJP are the main political parties. In the last election, the leaders of Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti and Gondwana Party were taken over by the Congress in the tribal areas. The result was that the Congress got the benefit of 29 assembly seats directly in Nimad-Malwa. The Bharatiya Janata Party has adopted a strategy targeting the tribal voters of this area for the 2023 assembly elections. For the last two years, BJP is maintaining its presence in this area by doing one or the other program among the tribals. Rahul Gandhi’s padayatra is to remain in this area only for a few days. It is difficult to say whether Congress will get any major benefit from this. Anyway, there is still one year left for the election. Till then there will be no effect of the journey. The immediate events at the time of elections play an important role in changing the results.
FIRST PUBLISHED : November 24, 2022, 16:31 IST