The Chambal Valley of MP is intriguing from a geographical point of view, but even during the election season, this region of Gwalior and Chambal divisions garners a lot of headlines. In the 2018 assembly elections, the biggest push for the ruling BJP’s Vijay Rath came from this constituency. Voters in the state’s Chambal Valley, a BJP stronghold, revolted and joined the Congress in the last election. As a result only 7 out of 34 seats in this area can go to BJP. The Chambal Valley gave the Congress a decisive lead in the polls with 26 seats. It is a different matter that only a year and a half later insurgency in the same area pushed the Congress out of power as well. However, BJP has fielded all its political warriors in the Chambal polls to recover from the loss in the last election. This includes all the big leaders of the center and states, from Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra.
Chambal’s Political Score Math
Gwalior Chambal division of MP has 8 districts (Morena, Bhind, Sheopur, Gwalior, Datia, Shivpuri, Guna and Ashoknagar). Geographically, the nature of these areas is similar, but Gwalior and Chambal are officially given the status of two separate divisions.
In the rural areas of this region, elections are held only on farmer issues. Generally water and electricity for irrigation, rural backwardness, unemployment and weak law and order are the main electoral issues in this area. In this election, there is great anger among the rural people against the rebel legislators of the last election.
Chambal water is rebellious
It is said that Chambal water itself is revolting in nature. First, the Dakars who flourished as a result of social revolts established their rule in the valleys of the Chambal valley, and later political revolts kept the area in the limelight.
Talking about electoral politics, people of this area have supported BJP since 2003, but in 2018, the mood of Chambal people became so rebellious that BJP lost 27 out of 34 seats in this area. Congress won 26 seats in Chambal.
However, within just 18 months of the elections, such were the voices of rebellion in the Chambal Valley that 28 party MLAs, including senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, joined the BJP and ousted the Kamal Nath government. The public anger created by this rebellion was visible in the by-election itself, when two rebel MLAs including minister Imarti Devi lost the by-elections.
This time mood
The BJP government formed in MP was in power for three and a half years due to the Chambal Rebellion. The BJP is now facing almost two decades of anti-incumbency wave i.e. anti-incumbency in the entire state. Its influence is also evident in the Chambal division of Gwalior. Sensing this public mood, the BJP top leadership did not announce anyone as the chief ministerial candidate so that public anger was confined to state chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his party. Also, the BJP has projected a fighting spirit among the people by fielding all its Union Ministers and MPs. BJP is now contesting elections in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP’s double engine government is working.
Also, the BJP has fielded some of its strongest leaders involved in central politics in the MP assembly elections. Among them are Narendra Singh Tomar, MP from Chambal division’s Morena Lok Sabha constituency and Union Agriculture Minister. The party has fielded Tomar from Dimani constituency in Morena district. Congress gave ticket to Rabindra Singh Tomar before Tomar.
The reputation of three ministers of the Shivraj government is also at risk in this area. Among them, prominent leader and Home Minister Narottam Mishra is contesting from Datia seat. Congress has fielded former MLA Rajendra Bharti against Mishra. In the first list of candidates, the Congress gave ticket to Awadhesh Nayak, but in the list released on Thursday, the party replaced Nayak with old Congress leader Bharti. Former MLA Bharti herself defeated Mishra once in Datia itself.
Similarly, Gwalior City MLA and Minister Pradyuman Singh Tomar, Gwalior Rural Constituency MLA and Minister Bharat Singh Kushwaha and Bhind MLA Sanjeev Kushwaha will also have to answer to the people of Chambal for their rebellion against the Congress in this election.