LS Polls: Can BJP make a dent in Kamal Nath’s bastion Chhindwara?

Bhopal, April 3 – The Lok Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara seem to have become a direct contest between veteran Congress leader Kamal Nath’s family and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Nath family, which won over a dozen elections from Chhindwara in the last over 40 years, is making all efforts to retain its bastion, while a determined BJP is leaving no stone unturned to wrest this constituency from the Congress.

Bordering Maharashtra, Chhindwara is the largest district in Madhya Pradesh where the contest is between Kamal Nath’s son and sitting Congress MP Nakul Nath, and the BJP’s Vivek Kumar ‘Banti Sahu’.

Former Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who won nine Lok Sabha elections from the seat, and was elected as a member of the state Assembly from there in 2023, is probably facing the toughest contest in his bastion this time. This is because the BJP has broken his several loyalists, including those considered close to Kamal Nath and his son Nakul Nath.

The biggest jolt came after former state minister Deepak Saxena, considered close to the veteran Congress leader, started distancing himself from the Nath family ahead of the elections.

Saxena’s son Ajay Saxena joined the BJP in March, and since then several politicians from the close circles of Kamal Nath, including Chhindwara Mayor Vikram Ahake and sitting MLA (Amarwara) Kamlesh Shah, have shifted loyalties.

The ‘pain’ of Nath family came to the fore when Kamal Nath’s daughter-in-law Priya Nath said, “When I see my father-in-law, I can sense his pain. Those he considered as family members have betrayed him at a crucial juncture.”

Like her father-in-law (Kamal Nath) and husband (Nakul Nath), Priya Nath is also leading the poll campaign in Chhindwara, especially among women.

During her rallies, Priya Nath keeps reminding the people that Chhindwara has seen progress only because of the Nath family.

While senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya, who was appointed the cluster in-charge for the Mahakaushal region of which Chhindwara is a part, is attempting to rejuvenate the party workers there, top BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Mohan Yadav, are frequently visiting the constituency to boost BJP’s prospects.

Also, BJP President J.P. Nadda’s visit to Jabalpur ahead of the first phase of elections has given a push to the party cadres.

Notably, the BJP has managed to win the Chhindwara seat just once — in 1997 (bypoll).

Even in the previous two general elections, the BJP almost made a clean sweep in Madhya Pradesh but it failed to script a success story in Chhindwara.

Six Lok Sabha constituencies in the state, including Chhindwara and Jabalpur, will go to the polls on April 19.

pd/arm

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