BJP focuses on Dalit vote share in Madhya Pradesh Polls; PM Modi to lay Sant Ravidas temple foundation.

In the context of the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly Elections in 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to undertake a significant engagement. He will be laying the foundation stone of a noteworthy temple dedicated to the revered social reformer Sant Ravidas. This temple, estimated to cost ₹100 crore, is located in the Sagar district. During this visit, Prime Minister Modi will also take the opportunity to address a public gathering.

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Of particular note is that this occasion will mark Prime Minister Modi’s second visit to Madhya Pradesh in just over a month, underscoring the strategic importance the ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), attaches to this poll-bound state.

Arvind Bhadoria, the Minister for Cooperative and Public Services in Madhya Pradesh, shared insights regarding the Prime Minister’s itinerary. Modiji’s itinerary includes a journey from New Delhi to Khajuraho, followed by a helicopter trip to reach the Badtuma area in the Sagar district, slated for approximately 2 pm. It is at this location that the foundation stone for the temple dedicated to Sant Ravidas will be laid. In addition to the temple, a museum is also in the works, contributing to the overall estimated cost of ₹100 crore.

Subsequent to this event, Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to proceed to the site of the public meeting, which is situated near the Dhana airstrip, about 20 km away from Badtuma. Arvind Bhadoria, who not only holds the position of guardian minister for the Sagar district but is also associated with the organization of these events, confirmed these logistical details.

The BJP is anticipating a substantial turnout of up to 2 lakh people at the rally to be addressed by Prime Minister Modi. The rally, which coincides with the foundation laying ceremony of the temple, is expected to draw individuals who hold Sant Ravidas in high regard, especially among a segment of the Dalit community.

This dual-program event will also mark the culmination of the ruling party’s ongoing ‘Samrasta (harmony) Yatras’. These yatras, initiated from different regions of the state on July 25, symbolize an attempt to engage with the Dalit population in the lead-up to the assembly elections. The participants in these yatras have collected soil from 53,000 villages and water from 315 water bodies, including sacred rivers, to be presented at this event in Sagar on the evening of August 11, as shared by Arvind Bhadoria.

With a political context in mind, it’s essential to recognize that Madhya Pradesh has a significant number of assembly seats (35 out of 230) reserved for Scheduled Castes. In the previous elections, the BJP secured victory in 18 of these seats, while the Congress secured 17. The BJP’s efforts in this endeavor are strategically directed towards consolidating their presence and influence within the Dalit community.

In the 2018 assembly polls, the BJP attained success in 15 seats within the Bundelkhand region, while the Congress emerged victorious in 9. The remaining seats were distributed between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, each securing one seat. In the Sagar district, which comprises eight seats, the BJP triumphed in six, while the Congress secured two seats in the 2018 elections.

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