CMs keep away from ‘jinxed’ seats in M.P.

BJP, Cong. leaders not taking any chances during this by-election

It is believed if the Chief Minister steps inside Ashoknagar Assembly constituency, he loses the next election.

In the past 17 years, none has visited the city. And ahead of the by-election in November, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan too didn’t take chances. Last week, he attended a public meeting for Ashoknagar and Mungaoli Assembly seats in the district, but 9 km away from the city.

With defections which brought down his government piquing him still, Congress leader Kamal Nath too stayed away from Ashoknagar. By attending a meeting 35 km away, he hoped to keep alive chances of storming back to power. The Congress needs 28 seats in its kitty to form the government single-handedly.

At least six Chief Ministers since 1975 have lost power subsequent to their Ashoknagar visits: Congressmen P.C. Sethi, Shyama Charan Shukla, Arjun Singh, Motilal Vora and Digvijaya Singh, and BJP leader Sunderlal Patwa.

For instance, in 1988, Mr. Vora visited the city’s railway station to inaugurate an overbridge, after which he lost power within days, while Mr. Digvijaya Singh visited the city for a candidate, and lost the election in 2003.

Only in March 2019 did Mr. Chouhan visit the city after 2013, following the Assembly election loss. “This is a belief held by both the parties, owing to a few incidents in the past. However, this doesn’t affect campaigning in the area,” said BJP State spokesman Rajneesh Agrawal.

The BJP held just one seat up for the contest, but needs to win at least nine to breach the 115 majority mark to retain power. While 25 seats were vacated as Congress MLAs defected to the BJP, two owing to deaths of sitting Congress legislators.

“We have no reservations about visiting Ashoknagar,” said Congress spokesman Bhupendra Gupta. “The BJP is peddling such myths and instilling superstitions in the minds of voters.”

Similarly, it is believed whoever organises a meeting from the Ramleela stage of the Mela Maidan of Bhander in Datia district loses power, said a local Congress leader requesting anonymity.

This includes former CMs P.C. Sethi, Arjun Singh and Mr. Vora. “Why take chances during crucial election like this? We are refraining from holding any events there for now,” he said.

The Ichhawar Vidhan Sabha seat in Sehore district is another seat considered ‘jinxed’ by the CMs. “The belief is not the stand of any government, but held by locals,” Mr. Agrawal said.

It is also believed that if a campaigner for the Madhanta seat lands at the Narmadanagar helipad, the candidate loses.

In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for defying superstition by visiting Noida, until then avoided by the Chief Ministers for the fear of losing power. Mr. Modi had said blind faith was not desirable, following which Mr. Chouhan, Chief Minister then, had announced he would visit Ashoknagar too, which never came.


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