Bhopal: With the election done and dusted, the focus is back on December 3 when the results will be announced. While the Congress camp is confident of returning to power after it was unceremoniously removed after failing a floor test, political experts noticed a sense of uneasiness in the BJP camp.
The credit for creating an unsettling feeling among the ruling dispensation goes to Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, one of the three-star campaigners who went across the state, campaigning with the same tenacity till the last day, asking questions on issues concerning common man, particularly women. She succeeded in her effort to make BJP go on the wrong foot. Her strategy to stay focused on issues concerning the common man evoked a good response across regions.
Quick to realise that Priyanka's rallies could negatively impact them on the polling day, the BJP tried course correction. A case in point was the slew of giveaways BJP announced soon after Priyanka spelt out what the Congress' Vachan Patra (the letter of promise) offered. In its manifesto, BJP declared that it would offer cooking gas cylinders to the poor for Rs 450, free ration to the poor for the next five years and increase MSP for wheat and rice. In effect, they went against the BJP's much-publicised dislike of revdi culture or the culture of freebies
By highlighting the ruling party's poor show in providing employment, scams in recruitment, inflation, crimes against women, and high cooking gas prices, Priyanka was setting the tone for the 2023 state assembly election, observers point out. “In her 11 rallies, public meetings and roadshows from tribal-dominated Dhar district to Datia in Gwalior and Chambal, a region famous for the display of machismo and guns, her style of messaging in many ways evoked memories of her grandmother Indira Gandhi.
“From Indore, Sanwer, Khargone, Dhar, Chitrakoot to Rewa and Sidhi, the places where she addressed people and held rallies, one could see people were ready to back the party again,” a Congress leader said.
Moreover, the way she kept attacking the ruling party, it was obvious that she was able to set terms for the turf war. And BJP looked like catching up to her.
If Congress wins as per the party's expectations, it could well serve as a template to take on the BJP elsewhere and could cement Priyanka's position as a leader ready for bigger and more important roles.