Farmers and Small Business Owners could determine Electoral Fate of Contenders

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: May 18, 2019
As India enters the last leg of elections, several key constituencies of Madhya Pradesh go to polls. Some of these are where electoral fortunes will be decided by farmers and small traders, two groups of people who have suffered more due to the twin blows of demonetisation and GST.

lok sabha

Mandsaur:
This is the region most associated with the farmers’ unrest in the state. In June 2017, 6 farmers were gunned down in cold blood in Mandsaur when they tried to highlight their plight in wake of the agrarian distress perpetuated by unfriendly government policies on Minimum Support Price (MSP) for purchase of farm produce. But instead of being treated with compassion in the aftermath of the killings, farmers and locals were slapped with multiple criminal cases while the policemen who shot and killed the protesting farmers got a clean chit not only by the BJP government led by Shivraj Singh Chauhan, but also subsequently by Home Minister Bala Bachan who is a part of the Kamal Nath led Congress government. This moved riled Congress leader Digvijay Singh so much that he stated that the matter will be reinvestigated

The Mandsaur parliamentary constituency covers the assembly segments of Jaora, Malhargarh, Suwasra, Garoth, Manasa, Jawad, Neemuch and Mandsaur. All of these places are either predominantly agrarian or serve the regions agricultural economy with logistical support, fertiliser plants or as transit hubs. Needless to say, a blow to agriculture serves as a jolt to the economy of the entire region.

Mandsaur has remained a BJP stronghold since 1989, with only Meenaksi Natarajan of the Congress managing to win once in 2009. The sitting MP is Sudhir Gupta of the BJP. Natrajan and Gupta are up against each other. According to census data, 18.6 per cent of the population belongs to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes comprise 2.5 per cent. The Muslim population stands at 9.37 per cent.

Indore:
Often called Mini Mumbai, Indore is one of the most important centers of business and industry in the country. However, small and medium enterprises suffered a body blow due to demonetisation and the manner in which GST was rolled out. The region is in the middle of its worst unemployment crisis in years!

Indore parliamentary constituency covers the assembly segments of Indore, Sanwer, Rau and Delpur. According to census data, 16.6 per cent of the population belongs to scheduled castes and 6.6 per cent belongs to scheduled tribes. 12.67 per cent of the people identify as Muslims.

A traditional BJP bastion for the last three decades, Indore however misses its ‘tai’ Sumitra Mahajan, the MP this constituency has elected since 1989! But after the party’s dilly dallying on naming the candidate forced Mahajan to withdraw her name from the race, the BJP has fielded Shankar Lalwani who is fighting his maiden election. He is up against INC’s Pankaj Sanghwi and BSP’s Deepchand Ahirwal.

Ratlam:
Formerly known as the Jhabua lok sabha constituency, Ratlam covers the assembly segments of Alirajpur, Jobat, Jhabua, Thandla, Petlawad, Sailana and Ratlam (Rural and City). This region has a significant tribal population. According to census data 28.2 per cent of the people belong to Scheduled Tribes. Also 13.6 per cent belong to scheduled castes and 10.38 per cent identify as Muslims. 70 per cent of the people live in rural areas.

This is a traditional Congress bastion with only Dileep Singh Bhuria winning on a BJP ticket in 2014, but he was previously with the INC and had won from the constituency five times on an INC ticket before! In the 2015 by-poll four time INC MP Kantilal BHuria won the seat back. This time he is up against BJP’s Guman Singh Damor.