Will BJP face reprise of Karnataka in MP as infighting peaks?

Bhopal, May 24 (IANS)
Will Madhya Pradesh’s ruling BJP face a Karnataka-like result as the party goes to polls with a baggage of almost two decades of anti-incumbency, infighting, and corruption charges?
Meanwhile, the strained relationship between Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and state unit President V.D. Sharma has annoyed the central leadership.
As a result, highly-placed sources in BJP’s central leadership told IANS that the decision-making power of both regarding upcoming elections has been cut, and they have been asked to just follow the instructions from the Central leadership regarding organisational and party-related issues.
On the face of it, both the top leaders are not indicating any rift and leave no stone unturned when it comes to attacking the opposition Congress, but the things are very different behind the curtains. The groupism has escalated such a a extent that both these leaders leaving no opportunity to weaken each other and for that they are using the party’s rebels.
Even some state BJP workers and leaders privately admit that the strained relationship between the Chief Minister and the state BJP chief is affecting the party’s preparations for the assembly elections. According to high placed sources, multiple surveys conducted by the central BJP leadership have indicated no signs of increase in number of seats at current situation and therefore, overall command has shifted from Bhopal to New Delhi now.
“At present, the reports are not good for the party (BJP) regarding the coming Assembly elections. But, there is still time to work on it and things are in process, hopefully the situation will change in comming days. Infighting of senior leaders in the state unit is an obvious reason to worry, but not a bigger issue,” a highly placed source in BJP’s central leadership told IANS.
However, the cracks are not confined to top leaders, but also among some senior ministers. A crisis broke out recently when PWD Minister Gopal Bhargava and Revenue Minister Govind Singh Rajput, along with a couple of party MLAs, complained to Chouhan about Urban Development Minister Bhupendra Singh.
All three ministers belongs to Sagar district but Bhupendra Singh is considered close to Chouhan and Rajput belongs to Scindia faction.
However, Bhargava on Wednesday dismissed any rift. “I have worked for the party for 43 years and will continue to strengthen it. We all are together to ensure the party victory in Assembly elections later this year and the Lok Sabha elections due next year.”
If it wasn’t enough, the state BJP faced with yet another rift in Gwalior-Chambal regions – between Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Guna MP K.P. Yadav – and the differences between old vs new leaders was yet to die down.
Yadav had defeated Scindia (then in Congress) in Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
Also, the anti-incumbency sentiment, especially against Chief Minister Chouhan and rampant corruption as scams broke out in the two decades of rules in Madhya Pradesh will be another major concern for the BJP.
“Anti-incumbency could have decreased at some extent had BJP replaced the CM one year back. People are fed up with the same face for the last 18 years. Like in Karnataka, strong resentment against the BJP’s failure to tame corruption and inflation will be among the primary reasons for it to worry about,” Bhopal-based senior political analyst N.K. Singh said.

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