Low polling in the last two phases in Madhya Pradesh worries BJP leaders

Madhya Pradesh Polling Vote Election

BHOPAL: Perturbed over sharp fall in vote percentage in the last (second) phase of polling in various Lok Sabha constituencies in Madhya Pradesh both the BJP and Congress have decided to take several measure to increase voters turn out.

The  BJP  has  taken   steps   to  increase booth  management.  The  party  has   directed its   leadership to  take personal  interest. So far 21 top leaders were given the assignment but now almost everybody who matters have been given responsibilities. They include Chief Minister and the other top leaders. They all have been asked to keep eyes on the booth in their area.

Similarly Congress has also taken various steps to boost polling. The Congress has decided to launch special campaigning from April 29. The Congress  proposes to tell the voters that BJP’s decision to amend constitution has dampen the spirit of voters. The Congress will assure the voters that under no circumstance they will  allow any tempering with the constitution.

Besides activating BJP workers R.S.S. has also decided to plunge in the task of increasing voter percentage. According to reports, so far the R.S.S. was indifferent and   now   RSS  members have decided to launch door to door campaigns. It is widely realised that low percentage will harm the interest of the BJP. The R.S.S. will tell the voters the achievements of the Modi government in promoting Hindus interests including construction of Ram Mandir   and scrapping of 370 in Kashmir. So far the impression was that the R.S.S. was not taking interest in election but now it will try to remove this impression.

Besides, individual leaders have also announced incentive for example former Minister Gopal Bhargava has announced he will present motor bike to those who will achieve the figure of hundred percent polling   in   their  booths.. In Indore, sweetmeats dealers have offered hot Jalebi and Poha to early voters.

After low polling in round-1, Election Commission had redoubled its efforts to get people to vote despite the harsh weather. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged the electorate to “take some time out for the country” and go to polling booths.

PM Modi said in a recent rally in MP, “I know it’s getting hotter. I also know it’s wedding season. I understand that it’s the time when people have to work in agricultural fields. But no matter a how much work you have, shouldn’t you spare a little time for the country? it is my request to you. Shouldn’t we vote? Everyone must participate in such a big yajna of nation building. And that is why there should be heavy polling.”

Despite this, there was lacklustre voting on all six seats. In Rewa, more than half the electorate stayed home.

BJP’s Tikamgarh candidate, Union minister Virendra Khatik, won the seat in 2019 by a margin of nearly 3.5 lakh votes when the turnout was 66.6%. The same constituency on Friday saw a turnout of 59.8% while BJP was targeting an even higher victory margin on this SC-reserved seat.

Khajuraho, where BJP state president VD Sharma is left with no real challenger, saw the sharpest drop of nearly 12  per  cent in   the polling  on  Friday. On Saturday, Sharma told media “A major reason for drop in voting in the second phase is marriages. On April 26, every village in Khajuraho constituency had four to six marriages. People went off to attend weddings.”

He claimed BJP may not be as affected as Congress as a large section of its grassroots workers have switched to the ruling party in the last three  months.

“My Congress rival in the 2019 Lok Sabha election did not vote on Friday. A large section of Congress is extremely demoralized and they did not step out to vote,” Sharma claimed, adding that BJP workers went to the homes of Congress supporters to come out and vote but they refused.

Another reason for drop in polling is that EC “did not permit IDs on mobile phones”, Sharma argued. “Many voters don’t take their ID card, they show the card image on their mobiles. This has been disallowed, so many had to return without casting their votes,” he said.

Congress, on the other hand, argues that the sharp drop in polling was because women voters felt betrayed and didn’t vote.

In Indore, state Congress president Jitu Patwari said, “Why should women vote when they have been betrayed? They were promised Rs 3,000 per month under Ladli Bahna Scheme by BJP during the assembly election. This is the truth of Shivraj (Singh Chouhan) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘guarantee’.” According to sources in both parties, polling in both phases was held on a Friday, and minority voting may have been affected due to Jumma Namaz. Additionally, this is the time when harvesting takes place and a large section of agricultural labourers, especially from Bundelkhand, migrates to Punjab and Haryana and other parts of the country. They may not have been around to vote.

L.S. Herdenia is a journalist by profession and a well-known activist & fighter for the cause of Secularism and Communal Harmony

. (IPA  Service)

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