Ganga Jal enters poll-bound MP's politics, but it's Congress not BJP that promises to distribute it

A Congress leader plans to distribute one lakh bottles of it in Indore district to convey that state party chief Kamal Nath's 11 poll guarantees were as pure as Ganga water.

Published: 22nd September 2023 08:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd September 2023 08:58 PM   |  A+A-

Kamal Nath

MP Congress President Kamal Nath (File photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

BHOPAL: With the next assembly polls just around two months away, Ganga Jal (water of the holy Ganga) has made its entry into the politics of poll-bound Madhya Pradesh.

But it’s not the saffron BJP which is associated with the campaign, instead it’s the opposition Congress, which has announced that it would distribute the holy Ganga water among the masses, as part of its soft Hindutva strategy.

Leading this campaign will be the party’s OBC cell in-charge for Indore Lok Sabha constituency Himanshu Yadav, who plans to distribute one lakh bottles of Ganga Jal across the nine assembly segments of Indore district, starting from September 27, to convey to the people that state party chief Kamal Nath’s 11 poll guarantees were as pure as Ganga water.

“We’ve already ordered one lakh bottles of Ganga water from Haridwar, which will be arriving in the coming days. The campaign which will be launched from the Agrasen crossing in Indore-III assembly segment will first cover the Indore-1 assembly constituency and subsequently the other eight assembly segments of Indore district. The bottles will carry pictures of all the 11 poll guarantees spelt out by our CM candidate Kamal Nath to assure the people that those Vachans are as pure and true as the river Ganga water,” Yadav told The New Indian Express on Friday.

“Once we’re done with distribution of the Ganga Jal bottles in all nine assembly seats (10,000 bottles in each segment), we’ll work with the party to replicate the same campaign in districts adjoining Indore,” Yadav added.

Taking a dig at the Congress’s latest dose of soft Hindutva, the state BJP spokesperson Narendra Saluja (who was once the close aide of Kamal Nath) said, “Ganga Jal is revered in Sanatan Dharma, if the Congress believes so much in Ganga Jal, it must first purify with the Ganga Jal its INDIA bloc ally DMK leaders and its own minister in Karnataka, who have been continuously abusing Sanatan Dharma. This latest announcement by an obscure Congress leader is merely a publicity stunt to grab headlines.”

Indore is the nucleus of the Malwa-Nimar region. The region, which covers western and southwestern MP, houses a maximum 66 seats, which is more than any other region. The party which emerges victorious in Malwa-Nimar region goes on to form the government in the state.

In the 2018 polls, the Congress which came to power for 15 months, had won 36 out of the 66 seats of Malwa-Nimar region, while its three rebel candidates had won as independents. The BJP had to be satisfied with just 27 seats. Five years earlier, the BJP which had retained power in the state with 165 seats, had won 57 seats, while the Congress was far behind with just nine seats.

Indore district, which for long has been considered a saffron citadel, presently has six BJP MLAs and three Congress MLAs.

It’s not the first time that the Congress has embarked on Ganga Jal distribution ahead of polls in the state. Before the 2018 assembly polls, the Digvijaya Singh-loyalist candidate PC Sharma too had distributed Ganga Jal bottles in Bhopal’s Dakshin Paschim constituency. He won the polls and became a cabinet minister in the 15-months-long Kamal Nath-led government.

More than two years later and five months after the resignations of Jyotiraditya Scindia-loyalist MLAs ousted the Kamal Nath government from power, paving the passage for the return of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government, the Congress had launched Shuddhe Ke Liye Yuddh (War for Purity) campaign on the 27 assembly segments where by-elections were held in November 2020.

With 25 out of the 27 bulk assembly by-elections being necessitated due to the resignation of Congress MLAs, the Congress’s campaign saw half litre bottles being distributed among voters in the 27 Assembly segments, symbolically to purify those constituencies of the “unholy nexus between its erstwhile MLAs and their new party the BJP.”

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