While all eyes are focused on this LS seat represented by Sushma Swaraj, a crucial bypoll to the eponymous assembly segment is being fought in the background.
The byelection itself has become an issue because the Congress is telling voters that they were betrayed by CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan by vacating the seat. Hoardings accusing Chouhan and the BJP of betrayal have come up in the town appealing to voters to teach the ruling party a lesson.
Congress candidate Shashank Bhargava had lost to Chouhan by 16,966 votes, a narrow margin compared to the CM’s performance in Budhni where he won by a massive 84,805 votes.
The BJP had forced Chouhan to contest from here because it did not want to lose its vote share ahead of the general elections. While Bhargava is again in the fray, the BJP has fielded relatively unknown Kalyan Singh Dangi after deciding against Chouhan’s wife Sadhna Singh’s candidature.
“The CM has betrayed the people’s trust after promising that he would not vacate Vidisha. He made 187 announcements but did not implement any,” says Bhargava whose popularity hasn’t matched the ruling party’s organisational base.
He lost to former finance minister Raghavji in 2008, and reckons he stands a better chance this time. “It’s not going to be easy,” he admits because though his BJP rival is not known to many, the local caste equation may work to his advantage. Two more candidates having the same name as Kalyan Singh are in the fray.
Compared to Bhargava, Dangi does not have any direct appeal to make except hoping to benefit from the popularity of Chouhan, Narendra Modi and the BJP.
But Vidisha being a high-profile constituency, the Chouhan government has promised a slew of schemes over the last few months with the CM himself visiting the town regularly.