To understand why Madhya Pradesh (MP) was considered a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fortress, one has to visit Vidisha.
If the Congress manages to retain anywhere close to this vote share, it will be a huge improvement from the 2014 election, when it got 35.35% votes as compared to 54.76% for the BJP. In the last 12 (Lok Sabha and assembly) elections since 1993, the Congress vote share has been higher than that of the BJP’s only twice — in the 1993 and 1998 state polls. In six Lok Sabha contests in this period, the BJP’s vote share was three to 19 percentage points higher than that of the Congress.
An important seat of the Magadha empire in the 6th century, the town of 340,000 is today a centre of commerce in eastern MP where crumbing forts and cramped houses jostle for space. Save for the 1980 and 1984 elections, the BJP has held the Lok Sabha seat continuously since 1967. In the town, every second home has a member of working with the BJP, or its ideological fount, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). In 1967, when the Vidisha seat was formed, RSS leader S Sharma won on a Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS) ticket even though the Congress swept unified Madhya Pradesh. Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee won in 1991 and external affairs minis
“In 1967, the RSS made its footprint visible in Vidisha and Neemuch (on the Rajasthan-MP border) as leader such as Kushabhau Thackarey and Vijayaraje Scindia worked extensively there. The RSS started working in Muslim-dominated areas, which we called Vidisha model, and then spread to other areas,” said former MP chief minister Babulal Gaur, who joined the RSS in 1951 .