In the upcoming Madhya Pradesh bypolls, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has become an obvious choice among campaigners for the Congress party. A Kurmi by caste- Baghel has been actively campaigning for Congress in Bihar elections, a state ruled by another Kurmi- Nitish Kumar.
With 50 percent representation in the population, Other Backward Classes (OBC) always play a key role in elections. However, Baghel, also a poster boy among Congress-ruled states was scheduled to host four poll meetings in Datia, Bhander, and Gwalior on October 24. But following the HC’s order, a ban has been imposed on physical meetings, Baghel addressed a press conference
Slamming the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party government, Baghel said the BJP has toppled the democratically elected Congress government in the state. He further attacked CM Chouhan for not offering an account of 15 years of work and instead sought details of 15 months of Congress government.
However, the party has no immediate plans to bring back Baghel in the Gwalior-Chambal region for campaigning but he could make re-entry into the poll scenario for a day or two, a senior Congress leader from Gwalior said.
To add, besides engagement in Bihar, Baghel also has the responsibility of making the party victorious in Marwahi bypolls, quelling a spirited challenge from Jogis.
Interestingly, Kurmi/Patel isn’t a dominant caste in Gwalior –Chambal region unlike Vindhya region in Madhya Pradesh, where the community remains a decisive factor whenever the polls are around. Yet, the Congress party roped him into the bypolls.
“He is a dynamic and aggressive leader and we are hopeful his presence will benefit us in the Gwalior-Chambal region,” said a Congress leader from Bhopal.
IN 2019, during the Lok Sabha polls, Baghel extensively participated in caste-equation driven UP and Bihar to mobilize Kurmi/Patels. With caste equations playing pivotal roles in many states, especially in the Hindi heartland, the Congress party now mostly banks on Baghel to woo voters.