By Sandeep Pauranik
Bhopal, Oct 11 (IANS) The war of attrition between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the primary opposition Congress has peaked ahead of the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly bypolls. Now the political battle between BJP leader and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, and Congress leader and former Chief Minister Kamal Nath has intensified over the symbolic ‘coconut’.
Bye-elections will be held on November 3 for 28 Assembly seats in the state and the election bugle has been sounded in earnest. From trading barbs such as ‘Stable vs Saleable’, ‘Fighter vs Traitor’, ‘farm loan waiver’ and ‘deceiver’, the fight has now turned centrestage over ‘coconut’.
Congress leader Kamal Nath had taunted BJP’s Shivraj Chouhan, saying “he walks by carrying a coconut in both his pockets” while the latter was launching development projects in the state.
Following Kamal Nath’s coconut remark, Chouhan had retorted, saying: “Coconut is part of our culture and tradition. Coconuts are used to mark the beginning of every auspicious work. We do not carry coconut just like that but for laying the foundation stones of the development works which were stalled by the Congress and the Kamal Nath government.”
Chouhan added that his government had constructed 13,000-km of roadways during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Coconut is a symbol of service and we walk with coconut and not with champagne bottles,” Chouhan added.
In response to Shivraj’s statement, Kamal Nath said, “Shivraj Singh Chauhan, you rightly said coconut is a symbol of purity, service and used to worship God that is why I say that by breaking coconuts for false electoral promises you are being sanctimonious. Do not make it a part of misleading and confusing politics.”
“I would have been happy if you had walked with a coconut in your pocket for 15 years but you only carry a coconut at the time of elections and break it anywhere to which I strongly object. The construction of the 13,000 km roadways was started by the Congress,” Kamal Nath added.
Political analysts say the bypoll results could change the power equations in the state due to which both parties are making efforts to woo the voters with rhetoric.