Kamal Nath Vs ‘Kamal’ in MP as BJP, Congress Hope to Win Hindi Heartland Tomorrow in Race to 2024 – News18

Reported By: Pallavi Ghosh

Last Updated: December 02, 2023, 11:54 IST

While many say change is inevitable and needed, some wonder whether a change in government will really translate to something positive on ground. (Getty)

While many say change is inevitable and needed, some wonder whether a change in government will really translate to something positive on ground. (Getty)

With 29 Lok Sabha seats, the state matters both for the BJP and Congress. While BJP faces 18 years of anti-incumbency, this will be a do-or-die battle for Nath to cement his political legacy

Madhya Pradesh Election 2023

At first glance, the Congress and BJP offices in Bhopal look deserted. But the air of anticipation is palpable. The prestige of both the parties hinges on the assembly poll results to be declared on Sunday as the Lok Sabha narrative takes over.

So, what’s at stake for the BJP? Plenty, to say the least, as Madhya Pradesh is part of the Hindi heartland zone which the party has a grip on.

With 29 Lok Sabha seats, the state matters both for the BJP and Congress. But for the former, to ensure it meets its target of ‘400 paar’, the party is looking at a sway over this belt which also includes UP and Bihar.

The BJP, however, faces 18 years of anti-incumbency, with the fatigue obvious in many quarters.

As News18 mingled with locals at Raju Tea Stall, a landmark in Bhopal, there were mixed reactions. While many say change is inevitable and needed, some wonder whether a change in government will really translate to something positive on ground. Bhaijaan, who owns the tea stall, says: “We had 15 months of this change and not much happened. I am wondering if it helps that the same party is in power at the state and central level?”

The BJP has tried its experiments. One is MPs and ministers like Narendra Tomar being put up as MLA candidates. The logic is that they would have influence on around four to five seats in and around their constituency. But, there is no guarantee. For instance, Kailash Vijayavargiya was very open about the fact that he would have preferred his son to be the candidate.

Second, the BJP hoped to cut the Shivraj Chouhan anti-incumbency narrative by peddling the idea that he may not be chief minister if the party wins again. But as it became clear along the way that women voters mattered and they supported Chouhan, ignoring ‘Mamaji’ became difficult.

Sources say Home Minister Amit Shah, who was parked in MP for many days, activated all fronts and ensured that those who were scattered — from party workers to RSS volunteers — were brought together to ensure all BJP voters are out. The results need to be favourable to ensure that the BJP’s hold on the Hindi belt remains strong.

KAMAL NATH OR KAMAL?

For the man who willingly and with hope gave up Delhi politics, and stuck on despite frequent calls from Sonia Gandhi to take charge of the party, this is a do-or-die battle that Nath needs to win.

Nath’s political future is at stake, especially with his son Nakul being the MP in Chhindwara and now clearly the inheritor of his father’s political legacy.

The Congress has given Nath a free hand with Digvijaya Singh looming large. The party needs to win this state as much as the BJP needs to, given that MP is part of the Hindi heartland.

The locals at Raju Tea Stall have faint memories of his 15 months in power. “We don’t know what he did and delivered. Maybe he should be given a chance. But then we don’t know if the party will be in power for long,” they say.