Post poaching Cong man in MP, BJP stares at rebellion

Post poaching Cong man in MP, BJP stares at rebellion

In the Bhind-Morena region of Madhya Pradesh, a land of rebels, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has risked rebellion from within to poach a candidate of the rival Congress.

The Congress has suffered a setback, in the form of defection of local heavyweight Bhagirath Prasad just a day after he was declared the party’s candidate for the Bhind constituency in Madhya Pradesh.

But even as the BJP top brass celebrates this “big catch” ahead of the parliamentary polls, the party’s own MP from Bhind, Ashok Argal, is sulking, ostensibly over the prospect of losing the seat to the newcomer.

Argal, who has won five LS polls, is one of the three MPs the BJP had deployed to expose the alleged “cash-for-vote” scam during the referendum on the No-Confidence Motion against the United Progressive Alliance government in Lok Sabha on July 22, 2008. He, along with two other BJP MPs, had shocked all by waving wads of currency notes in the House, alleging that the Congress-led government had sought to bribe them to get them vote in favour of the ruling dispensation.

He had secured 43.41 per cent votes in Bhind in 2009 to beat Prasad, who had then contested on a Congress ticket.

But with the BJP opening its door for Prasad, Argal is apprehensive that the saffron party may this time field the newcomer and not him from Bhind.

“I have dedicatedly worked for the people of my constituency over the past five years, and have been in touch with people from all sections of society. The party will be able to reap dividends only if it puts up a candidate who can connect with the local people,” Argal told Deccan Herald in New Delhi on Monday, repeatedly underlining the fact that he had defeated Prasad by a substantial margin in 2009.

“I could do so only because my main rival had no connection with the local people and was unaware of the problems of the constituency,” he said. 

Morena, Bhind and Sheopur districts of Madhya Pradesh are all parts of Chambal—an impoverished and underdeveloped region that was notorious for baghis (meaning rebels, and referring to the name outlawed bandits were called in the region) till a few years ago.