Why Anti-Incumbency Could Spell Trouble for BJP in Madhya Pradesh

Angry voters recently confronting the chief minister's wife in his home constituency is a sign that the state could be looking for a change in leadership. 

Bhopal: In poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s wife Sadhna Singh is facing serious criticism from the electorate. Recently, angry voters confronted Sadhna as the CM’s wife was doing door-to-door campaigning in her husband’s constituency – Budhni in Sehore district.

A two-minute video that went viral on social media shows agitated voters complaining about the lack of basic amenities in the constituency of the three-term Madhya Pradesh chief minister.

“For the last five years we are facing water problem. When the election comes, you people come and say everything will be done. But till date, there is no water. Madam will you make us die thirsting for water?” an angry woman can be seen questioning Sadhna Singh and other BJP supporters campaigning for Chouhan.

Even as Sadhna assured that the lapses will be addressed, the complainant maintained “nothing has happened and nothing will happen.”

Also read: With Anti-Incumbency in the Air, BJP Is Picking Its Candidates Carefully in MP

The video clip shows Sadhna moving ahead and leaving behind the group of women accompanying her.

Quick to cash in on the incident, Congress chief Kamal Nath took a jibe at his opponent on Twitter, saying: “Mamaji, you brought the whole state to the brink of misery, but could you not have taken care of your own village? Now, Sadhna Singh is being taunted by the people of Rehti for not making drinking water available. Shame on you”.

The chief minister’s wife and their son Kartikeya have been trying to win over voters by campaigning in Chouhan’s assembly seat. After filing his nomination papers on November 6, Chouhan had urged his party workers to ensure him a victory in his absence since he would be busy campaigning across the state.

Chouhan had entered the state assembly for the first time in 1990 by defeating his Congress rival by a substantial margin from Budhni. He then won the seat by a margin of 85,000 votes against Congress’s Mahendra Singh Chouhan in the 2013 elections. This time, the Congress has fielded Arun Yadav, former Union minister and former president of the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee, against BJP’s poster boy Chouhan in the Budhni assembly constituency.

Chouhan and Yadav both belong to the OBC Kirar community, which comprise nearly 70% of Budhni’s voters. 

Also read: Is the BJP Fighting a Losing Battle in Madhya Pradesh?

A former MP from the Khandwa Lok Sabha seat, Yadav has defeated BJP bigwigs in the past – Krishna Murari Moghe in Khargone in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls and four-time MP Nandkumar Singh Chauhan from Khandwa Lok Sabha seat in 2009.

The two main issues that may reflect the choice of the voters in the state are anti-incumbency against the Chouhan government – which has been in power for 15 years – and attempts to change the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. 

In 2013, BJP won 165 seats and the Congress 58. The Bahujan Samaj Party managed to win just four seats while independent candidates won three. Madhya Pradesh is set to go to polls on November 28 and the results will be declared on December 11.