Madhya Pradesh Polls: How BJP Reworked Strategy to Multiply Its ‘Face Value’, Corner Kamal Nath – News18

The focus in campaigning is not just on the Madhya Pradesh government’s schemes but also what the Centre has given and announced. This is to ensure that CM Shivraj does not walk away with all the credit. File photo/PTI

The BJP while facing some infighting and fatigue in Madhya Pradesh is hoping to bounce back by putting up a united show and also not projecting anyone as the CM face

Madhya Pradesh Election 2023

When you are ’20’ and fighting, there are many more challenges and reworking of strategy needed for any political party. So the Bharatiya Janata Party has redrawn its Madhya Pradesh gameplan. Called the ‘heart of India’, MP matters for many reasons to the BJP. It would never want to cede space to Congress in one-on-one fights. It’s a major Hindi heartland state. It’s a religious and Hindutva hub. And also, it’s a state where the BJP has opted for the experiment of making MPs contest assembly polls.

With a lot at stake, the BJP began afresh on the drawing board. First, as a party moves along and consolidates its position, it’s inevitable that some of the seniors will be disgruntled. Top sources say it was decided that all seniors and party veterans in every district of the state would be reached out to and assigned responsibilities. This is to ensure that no one feels left out.

Then a list of those seats in which the Congress was strong or where the BJP was weak was drawn up and afterwards began the work of choosing candidates. Top sources say the reason why some MPs and central ministers have been fielded in the assembly polls is to try to swing high-profile seats where the Congress is strong. Also, said the top source, the idea behind choosing Pralhad Patel from Narsinghpur, for instance, was to impact at least six surrounding seats. Little wonder then that he has parked himself in Chhindwara for many days, which has been the turf of Congress’s Kamal Nath.

Just as the BJP wanted to teach Rahul Gandhi a lesson in Amethi and achieved it, similarly, it wants Chhindwara to be wrested. Top sources say that the BJP is confident of winning seven seats in Chhindwara, or at least restricting Kamal Nath’s movements to in and around his constituency.

As chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan launched the ‘rath’, which would be used by the BJP for door-to-door campaigning, it’s clear that the party while facing some infighting and fatigue is hoping to bounce back by putting up a united show and also not projecting anyone as the CM face. The source said, “Look at the poster. It has 12 faces. Anyone can be CM.”

Some of the faces referred to are Faggan Singh Kulaste, Kailash Vijaywargiya, Jyptiraditya Scindia, Pralhad Patel, Kavita Patidar, and Narendra Tomar. Efforts have been made to ensure that all castes like Kurmi, Patidar, Goli, and Gawli are represented.

That apart, the focus in campaigning is not just on state schemes but also what the Centre has given and announced. This is to ensure that CM Shivraj does not walk away with all the credit. “The credit should go to the party, not an individual,” said the source.

The BJP’s campaign hinges on the fact that, unlike Digvijaya Singh or Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Kamal Nath, who is the main face of the Congress in the state and its CM probable, has little experience in Madhya Pradesh’s politics. But the Congress hopes the strong anti-incumbency sentiments would work in its favour. The BJP, on the other hand, feels that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the many high-profile faces can swing the election its way.