Huge hoardings, some of them bordering on defamatory, dominate the skyline of this temple town, a phenomenon not visible in Indore and Dewas, the two nearby towns that also vote on April 24.
Ujjain has remained a BJP bastion for more than two decades, except twice. Sitting Congress MP Premchand Guddu defeated seven-time BJP MP Satyanarayan Jatia in 2009 ending his streak of six consecutive wins. But electioneering has never been so lively here with BJP giving nightmares to Guddu, who has more enemies in his own party than among rivals.
Malviya resigned as university lecturer before taking the electoral plunge. A former RSS volunteer, he faced an identity crisis when campaigning began but in the last few days hoardings with newspaper clippings regarding an old sexual harassment charge against him have surfaced across the town.
“We know who is behind it but we can’t do much,’’ admits Prakash Chittoda, BJP in-charge of one of the eight assembly segments that fall within Ujjain (SC) constituency. He says the hoardings are defamatory and the party will approach the police for appropriate action.
“Wah doctor saab kya doctari hai aapki,’’ goes the punch line on one of the hoardings referring to Malviya’s doctorate and the sexual harassment case.
On the other hand the BJP has questioned Guddu’s educational qualifications. Guddu has responded with hoardings on the professional examination board scam calling it a gift of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. Other hoardings take potshots at Malviya for not sharing details of his four children while seeking a university job.
“We highlight national issues like Modi and his decisive leadership. Even committed Congress workers have expressed faith in Modi,’’ says BJP functionary Ramesh Sarda.