Lok Sabha Elections: Campaigning lacklustre in BJP bastion Indore after Congress’ fiasco but all eyes on NOTA

06:23 PM May 10, 2024 | PTI |

Indore: The Congress’ absence from the Lok Sabha poll fray in Madhya Pradesh’s commercial capital Indore has made the campaigning lacklustre and subdued, dealing a blow to those selling party flags and banners, but all eyes are now on whether ‘NOTA’ could create a record on May 13.


While the ruling BJP has fielded sitting MP Shankar Lalwani, the Congress’ Akshay Kanti Bam withdrew his nomination on the last day of the process, throwing the opposition party out of the race.

The Congress has been asking voters to press ‘NOTA (none of the above) to teach the BJP a lesson and has been organising torch rallies, meetings and also holding discussions with people on social media.

Despite being MP’s biggest Lok Sabha constituency with 25.13 lakh voters, the BJP has not organised meetings of any of the top party stalwarts, though state party spokesperson Alok Dubey said its current strategy was enough to garner a “victory with overwhelming majority”.

Ruing the turn of events that has made Indore Lok Sabha poll a one-horse race, Girdharilal Joshi, who has been selling flags and banners in the Rajwada area of the city for years, said, “I have never seen such a dull Lok Sabha election campaign before. There is no enthusiasm among the local people about the polls.” “Candidates and supporters are not buying flags and banners. Moreover, business is also hit as most of the campaigns are being carried out on social media,” Joshi told PTI.


Another flag and banner vendor Prakash Vishwakarma said his stock of Rs 10 lakh was lying unsold, since no one was keen to spend on publicity materials when the result is a foregone conclusion.

Indore has been with the BJP since 1989 and with just 14 candidates in the fray, nine of whom are independents, the ruling party is claiming its victory margin will be more than eight lakh votes.

Indore Press Club President Arvind Tiwari said, “The current election atmosphere and especially the reactions of senior citizens and intellectuals suggest NOTA can create a new record here this time.” In the 2019 LS polls, Indore had recorded a voter turnout of 69 per cent, with the NOTA figure being 5,045.

The BJP has been attacking the Congress’ support for NOTA with several leaders calling it part of the opposition party’s “negative politics” and an “attack on democracy”.

Lalwani, meanwhile, is active on social media and is taking part in campaign events across the constituency with an eye on the victory margin.

Asked why the BJP has not organised meetings of top leaders of the party, MP BJP spokesperson Alok Dubey said, “We have programmes of Chief Minister Mohan Yadav and state unit chief Vishnu Dutt Sharma here as part of our strategy. These are enough to ensure poll victory with an overwhelming majority.” Indore will go to polls on May 13 in the fourth phase.


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