Reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates, Dewas is considered to be a safe seat for BJP candidates. An interesting fact about this seat is that BJP’s Manohar Untwal who had won the election in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, has just contested the Assembly election and got elected from Agar.
Besides, Congress’ Sajjan Singh Verma who had given a shock to BJP in 2009 election by defeating BJP’s Thawar Chand Gehlot here, has also been elected from Sonekutch constituency and is now a minister in Madhya Pradesh.
Compared to the result of the last Lok Sabha election, Congress has gained in a big way. In 2014, BJP had won by a margin of over 2.6 lakh. In 2018 Assembly polls, BJP and Congress have won four constituencies each here but as far as vote share is concerned, Congress has got 40,000 more votes.
From agrarian crisis to anger among traders, unemployment and lack of development have been major issues, and this anger was visible in the state polls.
The Dewas seat is spread over Shajapur, Dewas, Agar Malwa and Sehore districts. Apart from Sajjan Singh Verma, Congress’ young face, Kunal Chaudhary has also won from Kala Pipal Vidhan Sabha seat.
The electorate here has preferred BJP in the past. In the town and adjoining areas, there is still influence of the scions of the erstwhile princely state.
The Dewas Lok Sabha seat, as it was known as in the year 1962, was won by Jan Sangh candidate Hukum Chand Kachhwai.
Later, it was renamed as Shajapur constituency. Jan Sangh’s Baburao Patel won the seat in 1967. Another Jan Sangh veteran Jagannath Joshi got elected in the 1971 election.
Later, in 1977, Phool Chandra Verma who contested as Bhartiya Lok Dal candidate, won here. In 1980, Verma again won, when contesting on Janata Party ticket, he defeated Congress’ Rambhajan Gautam.
The anti-Congress mood of this constituency can be gauged from the fact that it took 27 years for Congress to win here. Earlier, it was way back in 1957, when Congress’ Leela Dhar Joshi had won.
Later, in 1984, Babulal Malviya of Congress defeated BJP’s Phool Chand Verma by a margin of over 70,000. But in the next Parliamentary election in 1989, the seat was back in BJP’s kitty.
Phool Chand Verma defeated Congress’ Radhakishan Malviya by 72,000 votes. In 1911, once again Phool Chand Verma was elected. He defeated Babulal Malviya, who was fielded by Congress. But Verma won by a margin of 78,000 votes.
The year 1996 saw BJP fielding Thawar Chand Gehlot, who is a know a well-known Dalit face of the party, and now a Union minister in Narendra Modi government. He defeated Shakuntala Chauhan by 1.29 lakh votes.
Subsequently, Gehlot kept winning from this seat, uninterrupted. In 1998, he defeated Congress’ Sajjan Singh Verma. In 1999, Congress tried Radhakishan Malviya as candidate but he too lost against Thawar Chand Gehlot.
In 2004, Gehlot won his fourth successive election, defeating Shyam Malviya. In 2008, after the delimitation exercise, with a few Assembly constituencies here and there, it became Dewas seat.
Subsequently, in 2009, Congress’ Sajjan Singh Verma defeated Gehlot by around 15,000 votes. But, in 2014, BJP’s Manohar Untwal defeated Verma by over 2.6 lakh votes.
After losing Assembly poll after 15 years, BJP is planning to bring new faces and a surprise candidate may be brought. Otherwise, the party has an option to field Rajya Sabha MP Thawar Chand Gehlot, once again from here.