BJP leader and Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sharma campaigned in Chhattisgarh’s Baloda Bazar assembly constituency on November 15, the last date of electioneering for the second phase of polling in the state. This wasn’t Sarma’s first campaign tour of Chhattisgarh; he has been a regular and has been attracting substantial crowds.
A look at the areas where Sarma campaigned in the last fortnight in Chhattisgarh as well as neighbouring Madhya Pradesh shows how his ‘Hindutva poster boy’ image within the BJP is getting cemented further. Sarma made four visits to MP and addressed 15 public meetings between November 8 and 13. His popularity can be gauged from the fact that defence minister Rajnath Singh, in comparison, addressed 12 public meetings.
The assembly segments Sarma covered include Mandhata, Pandhana, Khandwa, Khilchipur, Sarangpur, Khujner, Narsinghgarh, Narmadapuram, Seoni Malwa, Huzur, Bagli and Khategaon. These constituencies have a sizeable Muslim population and many places have witnessed minor communal flare-ups in the past few years. Khandwa is also where the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) got a lot of recruits from.
Campaigning for BJP candidate Tankram Verma in Chhattisgarh’s Baloda Bazar, Sarma declared he had shut down 700 madarsas in Assam. He accused the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government in the state of weakening Sanatan Dharma by allowing religious conversions. The BJP has been raising the issue of religious conversions in the state.
This story was originally published in indiatoday.in . Read the full story here .