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Mandsaur: BJP, Congress face test as anger among farmers persists

Mandsaur Lok Sabha constituency is witnessing a contest between sitting BJP MP Sudhir Gupta and Congress' Menakshi Natarajan.

, ET Bureau|
May 15, 2019, 11.53 PM IST
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BJP owes its long-standing to the strong presence of Vishwa Hindu Parishad earlier and now the RSS.
MANDSAUR: Nearly two years ago, Mandsaur, the city, which is known for opium cultivation, drew national attention due to police firing that snuffed out lives of five agitating farmers. Though the agrarian distress appears to have been at least addressed politically, with BJP winning seven of the eight assembly seats in 2018 polls, the anger among some of the affected farmers persists.

These eight assembly seats make up for Mandsaur Lok Sabha constituency, which is witnessing a contest between sitting BJP MP Sudhir Gupta and Congress' Menakshi Natarajan. Naresh Patidar, the deputy sarpanch of Bahai Parasnath village, told ET that he was at the forefront of the farmer agitation and squarely blamed the then Shivraj Singh Chouhan government for farmers’ death— a charge denied by the BJP.

“I was so miffed with the BJP that I voted for Congress in the state polls,” he said. In this saffron bastion, BJP nominee Gupta is facing a personal anti-incumbency which prompted party president Amit Shah to appeal to people during a visit to the district to forget him and instead vote for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

BJP owes its long-standing to the strong presence of Vishwa Hindu Parishad earlier and now the RSS, which a BJP leader stated, worked hard to pacify villagers post farmers’ killing. On the other hand, Natarajan, whose simplicity and clean image attracts admiration even in the rival parties, believes that she can pass muster since the difference between the vote share of BJP and Congress was just one per cent in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
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