In the high-decibel Bhopal constituency election in Madhya Pradesh, deep saffron is set to beat light saffron.
BJP candidate from Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, a Malegaon blast accused and representative of the radical right has taken a substantial lead of 1.45 lakh votes against Congress candidate and two-term Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh. Singh — known for cultivating the Muslim voters assiduously and coining the term “Hindu terror” to describe Thakur and others — tried every trick in the trade to portray himself as a friend of the Hindus.
The winning trend of the BJP shows that the voters of Bhopal haven’t pardoned Digvijaya even after 16 long years, even though he began his election campaign by seeking forgiveness from the electorate. His tenure as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh is still remembered for rampant corruption, and total deterioration of basic amenities and infrastructure such as electricity, water and roads.
Singh had returned to active politics in the state after a hibernation of 16 years. After having lost the Assembly election in 2003, the former chief minister had decided not to contest election for a decade.
As the BJP fielded Thakur Singh tried hard to stall polarization of Hindu votes against him by aggressively displaying his own brand of Hindutva.
Digvijaya’s campaign focussed on playing up his much-publicised Narmada Yatra — where he undertook circumambulation of the holy river from the source to the sink on foot. He even got hundreds of sadhus and sants in his favour, who performed rituals like 'Havan' in Bhopal for his victory. Digvijaya's moves suggest that he took to Hindu rituals in public to counter the BJP and eventually neutralise any possible Hindu polarisation against him.
However, many of the sadhus who had participated in Digvijaya’s ritual, later claimed that they were tricked into being part of the ‘support team’. Several videos supporting the claim had surfaced soon thereafter.
If Digvijaya Singh loses, it may be the beginning of his end in the politics of Madhya Pradesh.
Sadhvi, on the other hand, had dubbed her contest as a “Dharma Yuddha” or battle for righteousness.
“We have been Congress supporters for years and always voted for the Congress including in the assembly election last year. But for the first time in this Lok Sabha election, we voted the BJP as we wanted Narendra Modi to be the prime minister. He’s the only right candidate to be at the centre,” Radheyshyam Rai, a small trader from Pipalia, which falls in Bhopal constituency told Firstpost.
If the Sadhvi finally does emerge winner in the election, it will be less an endorsement by the city of Bhopal of her brand of Hindutva, and more a rejection of Digvijaya Singh’s attempt to represent the city of a state still indignant over his brand of administration.
Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.
Updated Date: May 23, 2019 14:55:57 IST