Madhya Pradesh Polls: Priyanka Gandhi to address public rally in Jabalpur today

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will kick start the Congress’s campaign for the year-end Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls from Jabalpur today i.e. on 12 June.

Speaking of her today’s schedule, Jabalpur mayor and Congress’ city chief Jagat Bahadur Singh told PTI that “Priyanka ji will launch the party’s campaign and Sankalp 2023 by addressing a public meeting on Saturday at Shahid Smarak at around 11.15 am. She will land in Jabalpur at around 10:30 am and head to Gwarighat to pray to Narmada river.” En route to the rally venue eight kilometres away, she will garland a statue of Rani Durgavati, who attained martyrdom fighting the Mughals, he said, adding the rally will be attended by at least two lakh persons.

Jabalpur is at the centre of the state’s Mahakoshal region, which has a sizable number of tribal voters. Earlier in 2018 polls, the Congress had won 11 of the 13 Scheduled Tribe reserved seats in the eight-district division, with the remaining two bagged by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“People in Mahakoshal area or Jabalpur division having eight districts feel neglected by the BJP. We did well (last time) in the area. This time around we are going to sweep the polls,” Singh claimed.

When as as why Priayanka Gandhi will start the party’s campaign in Jabalpur, Congress Rajya Sabha member from MP and senior Supreme Court lawyer Vivek Tankha said the rally is being held in Mahakoshal as Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra did not pass through it, as stated by PTI.

“The rally in Mahakoshal area will help the Congress in neighbouring Vindh and Bundelkhand regions. Moreover, there is strong anti-incumbency (against BJP government) in Mahakoshal and a large chunk of traditional tribal voters of Congress dwell in this region,” he said.

MP has six regions, namely Mahakoshal, Gwalior-Chambal, Central India, Nimar-Malwa, Vindh, and Bundelkhand. Mahakoshal or Jabalpur division comprises Jabalpur, Katni, Seoni, Narsinghpur, Balaghat, Mandla, Dindori, and Chhindwara districts and has 38 Assembly seats.

In the 2018 Assembly polls, the Congress had won 24 of these seats while the BJP managed to win 13. One seat was bagged by an Independent candidate. In the 2013 polls, the BJP won 24 seats and the Congress had to manage with just 13 victories. With wins in Mahakoshal in 2018, the Congress was able to form a government in MP under Kamal Nath, though it fell in March 2020 after MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia walked out and joined the BJP.

In the Vindh region, the BJP won 24 seats while the Congress managed to emerge victorious in just six constituencies in the 2018 Assembly polls, he said.

In impoverished Bundelkhand region comprising Sagar, Chhatarpur, Tikamgarh, Damoh, Niwadi and Panna districts having 26 seats while the BJP won 15, Congress nine and Samajwadi and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) one seat each in the 2018 polls.

The last MP Assembly polls threw up a hung Assembly, with the Congress emerging as the largest party with 114 seats in the 230-member House. The BJP won 109 seats. The Congress formed a coalition government under Kamal Nath.

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