BJP's Pappu will have the last laugh
After ceding power Digvijay Singh rarely comes to the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha. The one time he did come he badly embarrassed Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Chauhan had just taken over from Babu Lal Gaur as chief minister and his humility was taken for lack of confidence. Singh started by calling Chauhan a baccha chor(child lifter). Those were the times when Uma Bharti used to call the government her child that had been snatched away from her. Digvijay called Shivraj Singh "Pappu" and predicted that this 'Pappu' will never pass. Chauhan just smiled as the speaker expunged Digvijay's remarks.
After the Amitabh Bachchan ad 'Pappu pass ho gaya' became popular, many in Madhya Pradesh, including several top bureaucrats tried to use the slogan 'Pappu fail ho gaya' to start a campaign to bring the Congress back to power. The phrase became so popular and the campaign so intense that Chauhan had to order his own Chief Secretary off his plane for his remarks against him. This particular bureaucrat, known to be close to Digvijay Singh, got himself a posting in Delhi within a month, still chanting, 'Pappu fail ho gaya'.
But Pappu did not fail. Chauhan fought and got a second consecutive term for the BJP in Madhya Pradesh. He presented his three-year performance alongside the 10-year reign of the man who first called him 'Pappu'. The people of Madhya Pradesh chose simplicity and humility over intrigue and arrogance. The story is likely to repeat in the Parliamentary polls as well.
April 4 is the last day for filing nomination for the first phase in MP and 12 hours before the expiry of this deadline the Congress has not been able to decide its candidate for the Hoshangabad Parliamentary seat. This is the seat from where state Congress president Suresh Pachauri had made up his mind to contest. His was the only name in the panel but he chickened out once he was reportedly given an option of appointing a caretaker state president if he were to contest elections.
So the Congress is now left with only a couple of safe seats in Madhya Pradesh. Ask a Congressman to name the seats where a fight is in the offing or the seats from where the Congress is sure to win, chances are that he will change the subject and start talking about seats in states like UP and Bihar where the party will lose the deposits. Madhya Pradesh, once the state of the great Congress stalwarts like Kamal Nath, Madhavrao Scindia, Arjun Singh and Digvijay Singh has slipped out of the Congress grasp. Perhaps the Congress needed to be bold and appoint Jyotiraditya Scindia as the state president. The Raja of Gwalior is known to be sulking!
In the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government there were four ministers from Madhya Pradesh. The Congress strength in the Lok Sabha from the state was also four till Arun Yadav won a by election from Khargone. Arjun Singh and Suresh Pachauri are not contesting election and the only seats where the Congress appears to be comfortable are those of ministers Kamal Nath and Kanti Lal Bhuria. Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was inducted into the ministry after Pachauri was sent as state president, is another Congress star from Guna but here again the BJP won seven of the eight Vidhan Sabha seats that fall in this constituency.
For the BJP there is just one star -the man christened 'Pappu' by Digvijay Singh-and he is leaving no stone unturned in trying for a BJP victory. Sushma Swaraj, the other BJP stalwart and a sure-shot minister if the BJP forms a government, is contesting from Vidisha, the constituency that was represented by 'Pappu' five times in a row. If you take humility as lack of confidence, you always pay the price. The Congress way.
More about Hemender SharmaA chance reporter, reporting for CNN-IBN from Bhopal. Has reported for the Sun Magazine, Delhi MidDay, Hindustan Times, Asian Age and Sahara Samay in the past.
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