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Jyotiraditya may find the going tough in Guna

By Bipin Chandran in Guna
May 10, 2004 16:36 IST
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Congress candidate from the Guna Lok Sabha constituency Jyotiraditya Scindia has a tough fight on his hands this time.

Jyotiraditya had in February 2002 won this seat, which was represented by his father late Madhavrao Scindia, by a margin of nearly 450,000 votes. However, this time he may not be able to get a thumping majority.

The presence of a number of dissidents and the surprise fielding of Hari Vallabh Shukla as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate may make for a bumpy ride. 

The other candidate, who is in the election fray and will draw votes on cast lines, is the Bahujan Samaj Party's Ramvilas Kirar. His presence could lead to a reduction in the winning margin of Jyotiraditya.

Historically, a stronghold of the Scindias, Guna is seeing an interesting contest this time. While Jyotiraditya is making an emotional pitch based on the work done by his family in the region, both the BJP and BSP are seeking votes on the development plank as well as on local issues.

Scindia was camping in Guna itself, attending one meeting after another and trying to establish a personal rapport with the key leaders in the region.

At election rallies, Jyotiraditya claims he is seeking votes to complete his father's unfinished agenda of ensuring development and prosperity in the region.

Scindia's closest contender, Shukla, was a Rashtriya Samaanta Dal member in the outgoing Madhya Pradesh Assembly.

Although he is fighting the Lok Sabha elections as a BJP candidate this time, in the last assembly polls, he had defeated, among others, the BJP candidate, Narendra Birthare, in the Pohri constituency in Shivpuri district. Shukla is said to have some influence on the Congress votebank .

"The candidature of Shukla is working in our favour. Besides, we also think that the sentiments against the Digvijay Singh government is also working for us," said a BJP leader. At meetings, the BJP has made it a point to emphasise that the Scindias have not done enough for the development of Guna.

The BJP feels that this is the only seat in the state that may go to Congress in these elections.

Guna has traditionally elected members of the Scindia royal family whenever they have contested from here.

It the first general elections in Madhya Pradesh in 1957, Vijayaraje Scindia had won from Guna as a Congress candidate. 

In 1967, she came back to Guna as an Independent candidate and won again. Vijayaraje did not contest from Guna in 1971 and the subsequent elections. But, returned to Guna as a BJP candidate in 1989 and continued to win from here till 1998.

Madhavrao Scindia contested from Guna in 1977 as an Independent candidate and won. He joined the Congress and contested from the constituency in 1980 and 1999. In 1999, Madhavrao Scindia had won the seat by a margin of over 200,000 votes.

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Bipin Chandran in Guna