New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are set for the assembly elections on Friday, with a TV network counted 350 rallies by Congress and 634 rallies by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh, including 15 by Prime Minister Modi.
The BJP’s list of speakers was topped by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprised BJP chief JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah; the Congress had Mallikarjun Kharge and the Gandhis — Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
BJP and Congress lock horns in MP
It appears to be a close fight in Madhya Pradesh between the ruling BJP and the Congress who fielded their big guns in Madhya Pradesh. Chhattisgarh is having the second phase of polling for 70 seats in the 90-member Assembly, the first phase completed on November 7.
The BJP’s list of speakers was topped by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprised BJP chief JP Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The Congress speakers included party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, and siblings Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and senior leaders KC Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala.
State leaders, too, featured prominently in the campaigns of the two parties. Incumbent Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Kamal Nath, the face of the Congress campaign, addressed over a hundred poll rallies each.
Prime Minister Modi held 15 rallies, highlighting the advantages of a double engine government and targeting rivals. His rallies were held in Ratlam, Seoni, Khandwa, Sidhi, Damoh, Muraina, Guna, Satna, Chhatarpur, Neemuch, Barwani, Indore, Betul, Shajapur and Jhabua.
Home Minister Shah held 21 rallies, some of them in Bhopal, Jabalpur, Khajuraho and Gwalior. He was followed by JP Nadda with 14 and Rajnath Singh with 12 poll meetings. Yogi Adityanath and Himanta Biswa Sarma, popular chief ministers of BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Assam, respectively, were roped in for cavassing for the key polls.
Among state leaders, CM Chouhan held 165 rallies, criss-crossing the length and breadth of the state. On the last day of the campaign, he described how tiring the past few weeks have been. “I would run while getting off the helicopter and also while climbing in. Still I managed just 165,” he said.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, a former Congress leader and a member of the erstwhile royal Scindia family, was assigned as many as 80 meetings to capitalise on his family’s local influence. During these meetings, he targeted his former party and stressed on the BJP’s achievements in the state and the country.
For the Congress, Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Sachin Pilot were among the popular leaders who held rallies. While the Congress chief was at nine rallies, the Gandhi siblings attended 11 poll meetings each.
Priyanka Gandhi levels allegations against Scindia
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra made headlines by taking a swipe at Scindia, branding him “traitor” who “betrayed” the mandate of the people. Speaking at Datia, Madhya Pradesh, she said, “I have worked with him (Scindia) in UP, Actually, his height is a little short but in arrogance, ‘waah bhai waah'”.
“Any worker who used to go to him, said, ‘We have to call him Maharaj and if we don’t say that, our issues will not get addressed’. He followed his family’s tradition well. Many have betrayed, but they betrayed the public of Gwalior and Chamba… he made the government fall,” she said, in an apparent reference to the Scindia royal family siding with the British during the 1857 rebellion.
Nath, who is the face of the party’s campaign, took part in 114 rallies. He was followed by Rajya Sabha MP and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh who addressed 50 poll meetings.