After his successful Bhopal visit, Rahul Gandhi turned to the Vindhya region of Madhya Pradesh. And in the words of the people there, “Rahul Ne Vindhya Pradesh loot liya (Rahul swept Vindhya Pradesh off its feet)”. Rahul Gandhi spent three days in the Vindhya region. Besides getting rousing reception at various places in Vindhya Pradesh, his visit helped the Congress to severely dent the prospects of the BJP to fare well. The biggest gain for the Congress was the induction of Pushpraj Singh, the Maharaja of Rewa. His son happens to be a BJP legislator. The Rewa royal family still commands great influence in the area. Pushpraj’s father represented Rewa in the Lok Sabha. Pushpraj, himself, was elected to the Vidhan Sabha on a Congress ticket. He was a member of the state cabinet headed by former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh. Having him back will help the party to gain a few Vidhan Sabha seats.
The Congress made another dent in the BJP stronghold when Abhay Mishra, husband of BJP MLA Neelam Mishra, a powerful leader, joined the party. Vindhya has given very powerful leaders to the Congress, including Arjun Singh, KP Singh and Gulsher Ahmed. They have the distinction of serving as governors of Punjab, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh respectively. Arjun Singh had also been the CM of the state for a full-term. At present, Ajay Singh, Arjun’s son, is the leader of the opposition in the Assembly.
The Vindhya region of Madhya Pradesh, has given very powerful leaders to the Congress, including Arjun Singh, KP Singh and Gulsher Ahmed. They have the distinction of serving as governors of Punjab, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh respectively
The Assembly constituency of Pushpraj Singh’s son, Sirmour, is one of the eight in Rewa. The BJP holds five of them – Rewa, Deotabalab, Sirmour, Teodhar and Simariya – and Congress has two, leaving one to the BSP. To add to the BJP’s worries, Simariya MLA Neelam Mishra has spoken against BJP minister Rajendra Shukla – the Rewa MLA – in the Assembly.
Besides, Rewa, Simariya and Teodhar are hotbeds of upper-caste resentment where the BJP is feeling the jitters. Teodhar, in particular, has significant Brahmin presence and Rahul Gandhi seemed to have gauged the pulse of place. While passing through these constituencies, loudspeakers in his Sankalp Yatra convoy played a song that went: “Jatiwad mitana hai, Congress ko lana hai”. In these three constituencies, the BJP is facing the heat from upper-caste protesters against Amendment of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Brahmins, who are a significant vote bank here, have made their annoyance clear to the BJP.
Rahul was quick to play on it. Stopping to address a gathering in Shahpur in Simariya Assembly seat, he urged people to “start changing Madhya Pradesh” and fight against “those who divide the country.”
The convoy passed by the villages of Bihilauri, Nandinipur, Chaura, Birkaam, Badrak and Beedia where posters have been put up to convey upper-caste anger.
In his speeches, Rahul said, “As soon as the Congress comes to power in the state, agricultural loans will be waived off. The Congress will prove that it is the government of farmers, labourers, the youth and party workers. We have the experience of Kamal Nath and the youthful energy of Jyotiraditya Scindia. The Congress is unitedly going to defeat the BJP”.
In Baikunthagpur, Rahul addressed a large gathering and spoke on the Rafale controversy repeating the “chowkidaar chor” jibe against Modi. “PM Modi couldn’t look into my eyes and answer the questions when I raised the issue of Rafale in Parliament. Bring the Congress to power in Madhya Pradesh and in Delhi. Bring to power the government that gives you jobs,” he said.