Sanchi-Govindpura (MP): 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.
Gaur, born in Uttar Pradesh and an LLB degree holder, contested his first election in 1973 on Janasangha ticket from Govindpura and never looked back, creating an envious history of electoral victories spanning 40 years during which he served as as Chief Minister, Minister and Leader of Opposition.
Both Shejwar and Gaur are very senior to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and have strong links in the RSS, a fact which is not confined to the two.
Political analysts say that one of the problems of Chouhan is that a number of ministers and MLAs in the party are much more senior to him in the saffron politics and function virtually as independent entity.