As the bypoll campaign is single-handedly being run by MPCC chief Kamal Nath, a Dalit youth women leader, who recently joined Congress after resigning from the BJP couple of years ago, is proving to be an unofficial star campaigner drawing huge crowds for the party in poll meetings in Gwalior-Chambal region.
Sanju Jatav, a post graduate in political science, had been taking whirlwind tours in poll-bound constituencies of Gwalior-Chambal and is in great demand as a campaigner from those in the fray.
With Jatavs, the community represented by Sanju, is having sizable presence in many seats in the region, her party is also utilising her youth appeal to draw crowds to poll rallies and public meetings. Young voters also line up to get clicked in selfies with the woman campaigner.
The woman leader has a personal grudge as well.
A former BSP leader, Sanju Jatav, was elected as Janpad Panchayat member in year 2015 but later when she shifted to the BJP, she got elected as Janpad Panchayat head. Eyeing ticket for assembly polls from Gohad, she had got into good books of senior BJP leader Arvind Bhadauria, an RSS man.
However, during then CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s visit to Ater in bypolls in 2017, Sanju’s husband Gajraj Jatav tried meeting the CM and in the process got entangled with the security personnel. This incident infuriated the senior BJP leaders and soon Garjraj Jatav also started speaking openly against upper castes in Bhim Sena rallies.
Afterwards the BJP got Sanju sacked as Janpad Panchayat head’s post through a no-confidence motion and an infuriated Sanju resigned from the BJP and joined the Congress party in June this year. Gajraj was also arrested by police later on charges of delivering inflammatory speech during sectarian clash in 2017.
Despite Congress party giving her a snub for ticket from Gohad, she has been campaigning for the grand old party relentlessly.
You were denied a ticket but still you are quite active in campaigning?
Like others, I also aspired for candidature, but I am trying to convey a message that one has to work for strengthening the party. We need plenty of MLAs to form the government, and mere one or two wins won’t help. When I joined the party, Congress had offered me no post or ticket.
Do you think you are able to pull women to political rallies?
I think not only women, I am trying to reach out to every section of voters maybe it’s young or old, male and females, both.
Are you focusing on entire Gwalior-Chambal region?
Given the limited time ahead of voting, I am trying to reach out constituencies in our region, at least twice. Till now, I have campaigned in Gwalior, Gwalior East, Ambah, Sumawali, Joura, Mehgaon, Gohad and Pohari.
You think old uproar of SC/ST Act amendment issue will again impact polls in the region?
Yes, it was a prominent issue back in year 2018 but the intensity of the issue is not the same this time round. But the issue had benefitted Congress in 2018 and will again work in our favour in bypolls.
If cases of atrocities on Dalits, especially at Hathras in neighbouring UP will have any impact on bypolls in MP?
These cases in neighbouring UP don’t have no direct bearing in MP but yes, such incidents tarnish the image of the Bharatiya Janta Party.
Would you like to comment on Kamal Nath vs Imarti Devi controversy?
It was purely a controversy created by the BJP to vitiate atmosphere ahead of bypolls. Kamal Nath ji had clarified his stand still Imarti Devi engaged in high drama. BJP leaders also called me fuse bulb and junk when I had resigned from the BJP but I never played the victim card. The BJP is deviating from issues but still for the public in the region, the issue will be bikau v tikau (saleable v dependable).
How complicated is politics for a woman in Gwl-Chambal region known for violence and muscle-power?
Yes, being a girl it was difficult for me to pursue education and enter politics since I belong to the Dalit community where women have limited freedom. But still you need to hold your values and position, others won’t be able to defame you easily in politics.