Suvasra-Sitamau Nov 19 (UNI) As Congress faces rebellion, the people of BJP-stronghold Sitamau which was till 2008 a full-fledged Assembly constituency, are looking for their identity lost in state’s delimitation exercise of 2007-08.
A former Councillor told UNI that there were huge agitations to retain the Sitamau Assembly seat that was chopped and merged into Suvasra (a Scheduled caste seat then) and Malhargarh (a general seat then) in Madhya Pradesh.
What emerged was that Suvasra, a much smaller township than Sitamau, was made into a general Assembly seat, and Malhargarh, a general seat, was converted into a Scheduled Caste seat. And the historic Sitamau was altogether wiped out of the Assembly constituency map!
People’s struggle resulted in Sitamau’s name being retained along with Suvasra but the BJP’s citadel had been conquered.
Traditionally the BJP has had a stranglehold on the erstwhile princely seat, as the party rarely lost an election here so much so that scions of the royal family also lost to the party.
BJP’s former state President Laxminarayan Pandey’s hold on the Mandsaur Parliamentary constituency –under which Sitamau and Laduna fell–was legendary. It was only after his death that Meenakshi Natarajan (ex-Congress MP) gained a foothold.
In 2013 Assembly elections, Congress Party’s Hardeep Singh Dang won from (now) Suvasra, defeating BJP’s Radheyshyam Nanulal Patidar. Earlier Patidar’s father, Nanalal, had been winning from here.
In this election, Dang is facing rebellion from party ticket hopeful Om Singh Bhatti who is contesting as an Independent.
But this does not make it a cake walk for BJP’s repeat candidate Patidar for he is facing the wrath of party workers for abandoning them during the last five years.
Patidar has held several meeting with angry workers and has managed to salvage the situation somehow. Apart from that, BJP also have SAPAKS and Shiv Sena candidates in the fray to reckon with.
Laduna village sarpanch Rukmanibai felt the election “could go either way”.
In Sitamau, former Counselor Virendra Singh said that Bhatti had been promised ticket “ last time” but was denied in favour of Dang.
“He was called to Delhi twice but was not given a ticket. Now he is contesting as an independent,” he said.
Countering this, Ram Chetan Joshi of Surkheda village pointed out that being the lone Congress winner from Mandsaur Assembly constituency in 2013, Dang had “first right” over the Suvasra-Sitamau seat.
Kamal Tiwari of Kamma Khedi village and some others, are unhappy with the compensation they got for the submergence of his land for Koteshwar and other dams in the vicinity.
On the other hand, first time voter Asif Mansuri of Sitamau said he was a graduate and had done B.Tech but was not getting a job “even in private sector, leave alone government’’.
His family of 10 members had backed the BJP in Parliamentary elections, but for maintaining the trend in Assembly polls, they would want to listen to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits the area on November 24.
Dang is battling the rebellion from Bhatti who has a dedicated following in his pocket borough villages. But whether division of non-BJP votes will bring advantage to Patidar is the question.
The Insides Speak.