Nail-biting contest in Ratlam
A nail-biting contest is on the cards in Madhya Pradesh's Ratlam parliamentary constituency, where former Union minister Kantilal Bhuria is locked in a direct contest with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee Dileep Singh Bhuria.
Considered an impenetrable fortress of the Congress, the Ratlam constituency is witnessing a battle for ballots between the two old foes for the fourth time. In the previous three elections, Mr Kantilal Bhuria humbled Mr Dileep Singh Bhuria.
The political scenario in Ratlam is quite different from other places. So far, the Congress has received electoral defeat only twice from Ratlam while winning on 13 occasions. On the other hand, the BJP has failed to register even a single victory.
In 1971, Samajwadi Socialist Party candidate Bhagirath Bhanwar was elected from the constituency. The second time it happened in 1977 when Mr Bhanwar was again elected on the Janata Party ticket.
In 1980, Mr Dileep Singh Bhuria was elected from Ratlam on Congress ticket. He won five next general elections from Ratlam. In 1998, he again contested from Ratlam but from BJP ticket. The Congress fielded Mr Kantilal Bhuria against him.
Mr Dileep Singh Bhuria was rejected by the electorate downright. Mr Kantilal Bhuria has been getting elected from the constituency continuously since 1998. He again defeated Mr Dileep Singh Bhuria in 1999.
In the 2003 assembly elections, BJP candidates won from all five assembly constituencies in Jhabua. However, Mr
Kantilal Bhuria was re-elected as a parliamentarian in 2004 beating BJP nominee Relam Bai Chouhan. In 2009, the BJP again fielded Mr Dileep Singh Bhuria but the result was same.
The two old foes are again in the political arena but geographical characteristics have changed. Earlier, the constituency had two districts, Ratlam and Jhabua. Now, Alirajpur has been separated from Jhabua. Presently, Ratlam constituency comprises of two assembly segments in Alirajpur, three in Jhabua and three in Ratlam.
A total of 17,02,449 electorat would be able to exercise their franchise in Ratlam this election. In 2009, the number of electorate was 12,46,756. This implies that the number of voters has increased by around five lakh.
Under Ratlam constituency, there are three assembly constituencies -- Ratlam City, Ratlam Rural and Sailana -- within Ratlam district. The number of electorate in these constituencies is 5,56,534.
Apart from demographic characteristics, political circumstances have also witnessed a change.
In the recently-concluded assembly polls, in all the eight assembly constituencies BJP candidates emerged triumphant.
Altogether, BJP gained a lead of about 2.5 lakh votes in this constituency in assembly polls. Besides, "Modi wave" is also being witnessed in the region that has increased the problems of Mr Kantilal Bhuria and raised the hopes of the BJP.
(Posted on 22-04-2014)