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Sanchi-Govindpura: BJP’s old warhorses in assembly poll fray

In the tranquil township of Sanchi, where Lord Buddha’s relics rest along with a rich history, there are now frequent animated debates on elections at roadside tea shops as Madhya Pradesh witnesses one of its most keenly contested elections in last one decade.

Quiet flows river Betwa rising from the Vindya range and a tributary of Yamuna that irrigates the crop-rich agriculture land of the region. There are concerns that the river winding through Bhojpur, Sanchi and Vidisha assembly segments is getting polluted by the industries.

Ironically, the place worst-hit by the pollution is Sehatganj. ‘Sehat’ is the Hindi word for Health. In the past elections, the pollution of Betwa had become an issue but this time political parties seem to have forgotten it.

In Sanchi, the contest is between BJP strongman Gaurishankar Shejwar, 63, who was close to Uma Bharti and a health minister in the government led by her, and sitting Congress MLA Prabhuram Chowdhary. A six-time MLA Shejwar, a medical doctor by profession was cabinet minister in three different BJP governments holding important portfolios such as home affairs, power and energy, health, and education. Shejwar is currently vice-president of BJP.

In the near-by Govindpura constituency that borders Sanchi, 83-year-old former chief minister Babulal Gaur of the ruling BJP is locked in a tussle with industrialist Govind Goyal. Gaur a nine-time MLA is currently urban development minister in Chouhan government and is still very agile. His tenth consecutive win this time could be a record of sorts, if the BJP veteran manages to defeat Goyal.

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