Months after assembly bypolls between BJP and turncoat MLAs on one side and Congress on the other side, another political contest is in store in Damoh assembly constituency.
The bypolls have been necessitated after then Congress MLA Rahul Lodhi had resigned and joined the BJP just ahead of assembly bypolls last year. Lodhi for obvious reasons is the BJP possible candidate. However, former aide of CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and ex-Finance Minister Jayant Malaiya and his son Siddharth aren’t too pleased with the move.
The six-time MLA Malaiya who never shared a stage since Lodhi switched over to the BJP, on Wednesday clarified he was very much in the party but added that Congress party was getting in touch with him.
Besides, meeting some party leaders in New Delhi recently, Malaiya on Wednesday had roamed around in Bhopal. His son Siddharth too was cryptic when encountered by the media on his strategy, saying he was an optimist and he will keep his views within the party.
There is a strong buzz in Damoh that ex-minister Malaiya or his son could take an electoral plunge into the bypolls. Malaiya a senior politician in Madhya Pradesh had lost to Lodhi from Damoh seat during the 2018 assembly polls.
It’s also a do or die battle for Malaiyas as they have an uphill task of keeping their political ground intact in the district. Sensing the desperation of them, the BJP is also doing its best to placate the father-son duo ahead of bypoll.
Sources also claimed that Siddharth was about to announce his candidature for the seat on last Monday but a vigilant BJP had intervened by getting in touch with the Malaiya senior and the announcement was deferred in the nick of time.
Siddharth is constantly having meetings with his supporters but speaking to the media he termed these gatherings as pujan and bhandaras.
If the BJP is in a dilemma, the Congress party’s situation is no better as the grand old party is bereft of any strong local candidate even as district party head Ajay Tandon is in the hunt for the ticket.
Congress party is scanning a suitable candidate through a committee of former minister Brijendra Rathore and MLA Ravi Joshi. State in charge Mukul Vasnik too had visited the seat in the past to gauge the party and public mood.
After EC announced Damoh bypoll date, Congress IT cell tweeted, ‘BJP ke teen yaar, bikau, jaichand aur gaddar’ which roughly translates as ‘BJP’s three aides- one who is salable, Jai Chand and traitor’.
BJP taking the bypoll as an important contest has recently announced medical college and other facilities for the district part of parched and backward Bundelkhand region.
Once party faces in the region, Congress leaders like Satyavrat Chaturvedi, Mukesh Nayak and Raja Pateriya have been sidelined in the party affairs for long.
The Congress party which lost power to BJP and also the subsequent bypolls in the state, is trying hard to salvage some image by winning the Damoh bypolls as consolation.
The seat however is known for offering a mixed result in last 15 times an assembly poll took place with Jayant Malaiya winning it on half a dozen occasions, Congress party on seven and independents grabbing the seats couple of times.