Known as the ‘heart of India’ and the ‘second laboratory of Hinduism’, Madhya Pradesh may give a big jolt to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Lok Sabha polls, ground realities suggest.
Contrary to the projection in the national media, voices emerging from the different part of the state indicate that the so-called Modi magic is dying down and his appeal among the masses is on a decline.
Dharmendra - who runs a grocery shop in a small town located at the north-east corner of the state, Dabhaura - feels disillusioned with the PM and his party.
He says, “Modi promised jobs but he did nothing for us. No development has come to my area. On top of that he announced GST. I used to watch videos of the PM, but now I feel he speaks a lot but delivers less.”
Dabhaura falls under the Rewa Lok Sabha constituency.
No wonder people from Dharmendra’s village boycotted the polling on May 6. Demanding better roads and health facilities, villagers submitted a memorandum to the poll officials.
"No road, No vote," their memorandum read.
Echoing Dharmendra’s concerns, another villager blamed BJP for ignoring the area.
Boycott of the polling in Vindhya region, assumes significance because this region stood firmly behind the BJP during the assembly election.
BJP won all 7 assembly seats in the 2018 assembly election in Rewa Lok Sabha constituency. Out of 30 assembly seats that fall under Vindhya region, BJP won 24 assembly seats.
A senior journalist told NH on condition of anonymity that the boycott of polling is an indicator of the people’s resentment against the BJP, specially against Modi as he is the face of the party .
“BJP had an edge over the Congress in this area. But a call for the boycott signifies that the Modi magic is dying down. Incumbent Rewa MP Janardan Mishra may lose his seat.”
Almost 500 kilometers away from Rewa, Bhopal which is known as the citadel of the BJP, showed similar sentiments and signs of the diminishing Modi magic.
At a tea stall in posh MP Nagar, during a heated debate, people disagreed over Modi’s performance as an individual-politician but they agreed on one thing- that he failed to deliver what he had promised.
Head of the Congress’ MP media cell, Shobha Oza said he (Modi) had promised the sky to the people but he failed miserably.
In a chat with NH, Oza said, “Modi is not seeking vote in the name of demonetisation, GST and black money. Why is Modi not fighting the election in the name of development? They do not have a single issue to name.”
If roads and health facilities were an issue in Rewa, water crisis and lack of infrastructure also count for the major poll issues in Bhopal where BJP has fielded a terror-accused Pragya Singh Thakur against Congress veteran Digvijay Singh.
Terming Pragya’s candidature a self-goal by the BJP, Oza said, “BJP has lost the plot. Pragya was not made candidate for Bhopal only. They wanted to send out a message all over the country in a bid to do the politics of polarisation but people are not buying their narrative.”
When asked about the so-called Modi magic propagated by the national media, Oza reminded us of ‘India Shining’.
“We have seen what happened to ‘India Shining’. BJP said India is shining under Atal ji and people had respect for Atal ji, despite that, ‘India Shining’ did not work. Why? Because people want employment, right to live with peace. Why would anyone vote for Modi? People are not buying their narrative this time.”
The young face of the Kamal Nath cabinet and Digvijay Singh’s son, Jaywardhan Singh though used milder terms to criticise Modi, he echoed firmly what Oza said.
On the Modi factor, the young politician said Rafale scam has substantially dented Modi’s image.
“Rafale scam has exposed Modi’s hypocrisy. When he took charge, he said Na Khaunga Na Khane Dunga but in one go, he gave ₹30 thousand crore to one of his cronies.”
“He started with the politics of development but ended up doing politics of communalism. While BJP promotes hatred among communities, we promote harmony and brotherhood,” he added.
Like Rewa, BJP performed better than the Congress in the assembly election in Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency but observers believe that equations and political scenario have changed since then.
A young professional told NH under the condition of anonymity that Modi is still a popular figure among masses but his failure on delivery has created a credibility crisis for him. Various estimates suggest that Congress’s tally may increase from two seats to 15 seats in the state.