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|November 23, 1998||
Congress veteran takes on BJP's greenhorn in Kasrawad
It is a battle between a political heavyweight and a novice in the Kasrawad assembly constituency in Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh.
With the battlelines drawn between the seasoned politician, Deputy Chief Minister Subhash Yadav, and first-timer Bharatiya Janata Party nominee Dashrath Singh, the poll apparatus of this segment has become a hubbub of speculation and analysis.
Breaking from the traditional practice of climbing the political ladder from the Vidhan Sabha to the Lok Sabha, Yadav chose the route to the assembly after having been returned as member of Parliament twice from the Khargone parliamentary seat.
Yadav made a foray into state politics in the last assembly elections from the Kasrawad seat and was later made deputy chief minister in the Digvijay Singh cabinet.
Known to have full command over the state co-operative sector, Yadav is at present chairman of the state co-operative bank.
Compared to Yadav, who has an impeccable experience of contesting five general elections and one assembly election in his career, his BJP rival is making his electoral debut.
Carved out in 1977, the seat has returned three Congress nominees in the five elections held since.
The erstwhile Janata Party nominee, Bankim Joshi, had defeated Chanmal Lunia of the Congress in 1977. The next two election results, however, went in favour of the Congress.
Yadav, who had contested the Lok Sabha election from Khargone since 1977, won the Kasrawad seat in the 1993 election by defeating his nearest BJP rival Gajanand Patidar by 11,587 votes.
The two Lok Sabha results in the intermittent period show a 'variable popularity graph'' for the Congress. While in 1996, the Congress was trailing by 1,956 votes, it consolidated its position by scoring a lead of 6,132 votes in this year's parliamentary election.
The votes of the Yadavs, Patidars and Rajputs will play a vital role in changing the poll arithmetic of this constituency. The 'Yadav factor' has both positive and negative impact on the deputy chief minister's vote bank. While he may cash in on the Yadav populace, the other predominant castes may whittle down his tally.
Considering the fragile caste equation of this region, the BJP has decided to field a Rajput.
Yadav's role in opening new vistas of development for this backward region is bound to reflect in the result.
But it may not be a cakewalk for Yadav. His growing clout has invariably given birth to opponents within his party. Besides, his tilt towards the Yadavs has antagonised people from the other castes.
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