Dimani: Ram Prasad Sharma, a farmer in Dimani in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena district, woke up at 6 a.m. and reached a cooperative society in his area to buy a bag of fertilizer. He told ThePrint that at noon, after spending nearly six hours in the queue, he found only a torn bag of fertiliser, with at least 5 kilograms missing.
But Sharma is not the only farmer. Thousands of small-scale farmers like him in Dimani have now become accustomed to standing in long queues for hours to buy fertiliser.
Dimani is the assembly constituency from where BJP’s Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar is contesting the upcoming Madhya Pradesh elections. Tomar is the current Lok Sabha MP from Morena constituency.
As an agitated Sharma was returning home with a torn bag of fertilizer in his hand, he asked, “What is the point of Narendra Singh Tomar being such a big leader when small farmers like me are struggling for fertilizer and electricity?”
He further said, “I paid the full amount, but we can’t even complain to those running the co-operative society because if we have any problem with the way they handle things, they just ask us to go to Morena.”
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Another farmer, Dilip Singh Tomar, told ThePrint that he was forced to sell millet at Rs 1,900 per quintal, much lower than the declared minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2,500. He said, “The government has not started purchasing millet at MSP and we are forced to sell to private dealers.”
As the sun started setting, Dilip Singh went home and was joined by Kalyan Singh Tomar, resident of Chandpur village of Dimani.
Guest teacher Kalyan Singh fiercely targeted the BJP government led by Shivraj Singh Chauhan. He told ThePrint that he and many other teachers like him were struggling to get permanent appointment in the state.
He alleged, “BJP government says one thing and does something else, We have been struggling to get permanent appointment for many years and despite doing everything right and fulfilling all the criteria, we are still running from one office to another for it.”
Although there is clear resentment against Narendra Singh Tomar and the BJP in the village, Gulab Singh Parihar, a 71-year-old member of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, sat at a tea stall at the main intersection of the village and explained to people how the BJP government is working for the benefit of farmers. It wants to bring three agricultural laws, but “the ‘Khalistani’ mentality of some people derailed the project”.
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‘Upper hand’ for Narendra Singh Tomar?
Dimani constituency has around 2.5 lakh voters and is dominated by the Thakur community, followed by Kushwaha and Brahmins. According to Election Commission data, members of the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities have around 50,000 votes each, while Gurjars and Yadavs have around 8,000 votes each.
BJP has pitted Narendra Singh Tomar against sitting Congress MLA Ravindra Singh Tomar, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)’s Balveer Dandotia and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Surendra Singh Tomar.
Small farmer Kirthram Nishad is unhappy with both the Union Minister and Congress’s Ravindra Singh Tomar.
“There has been no development in the area,” Nishad told ThePrint. Whether Narendra Singh Tomar is the Agriculture Minister or Ravindra Singh Tomar is the current Congress MLA. Tomar Saheb should think for himself, after being such a big leader, he has now come here to contest the legislative elections. It is the same thing that earlier he was sitting on a horse, and now he is sitting on a donkey.,
Although the villagers of Dimani see it as a defeat, a district BJP leader said that choosing the agriculture minister as the candidate from Dimani was the best decision of the party.
Ravindra Singh Tomar said, “Fieling a strong leader like Narendra Singh Tomar means that BJP will definitely win the Dimani seat.”
The leader said, “Otherwise, the local equations in Dimani were such that both Girraj Dandotiya and another candidate, Shiv Mangal, were fighting for the ticket. If either of them were elected, the other would work against him and the BJP would lose.”
Dimani farmer leader Subhash Chandra also reiterated the sentiment that Narendra Singh Tomar will win the seat despite the agricultural crisis, shortage of fertilizers and issues related to crop procurement.
Chandra said, “There are many agriculture related issues here, among which the problem of fertilizer is the most prominent, but unfortunately people do not vote on these issues. The voting pattern is mostly driven by caste equations and in that regard, due to the dominance of Thakurs on the seat, Narendra Singh Tomar is likely to have the upper hand.”
After the violence that broke out in the district on the night of November 3, caste equations came to the fore in Dimani.
Aidal Singh Gurjar was shot dead allegedly by some people from the Tomar community as a result of a dispute over playing loud music on a tractor. The Gurjar community demanded action. The administration bulldozed the house of the accused the next day.
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‘People expect leaders to come to the door’
While some people in Dimani believe that caste equations could tilt the election in favor of Narendra Singh Tomar, others have not yet made up their mind and are waiting for the Union Minister to arrive at their doorstep for votes.
Ramroop Verma, a local farmer, told ThePrint, “No matter who wins the elections, our position will hardly change, but we have not made up our mind yet and will wait and see who comes to ask for our votes and then Will take a decision accordingly.”
Narendra Singh Tomar is holding meetings in various villages, but has not yet started the door-to-door campaign in the constituency.
However, a Tomar loyalist, speaking on condition of anonymity, said public meetings alone will not cut it. He said, “Gone are the times when people had a craze to see leaders and attend their meetings. “Now people expect them to show up at their doorstep.”
According to local BJP leaders in Dimani, realizing that the contest here will not be easy, not only Narendra Singh Tomar but also his son and wife have been campaigning in the constituency, targeting women voters as well as youth to garner support. Have set out to do.
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BSP factor and support to Congress
Although the votes of the Tomar community are likely to be divided between Narendra Singh Tomar and MLA Ravindra Singh Tomar, BSP’s Balveer Dandotia has made matters more difficult for both the Congress and the BJP.
Balveer was the MLA from Dimani from 2013 to 2018 and according to local villagers, he helped and supported many members of the SC community, but in 2018 he lost the election to Girraj Dandotiya, who was the Congress candidate at that time.
Girraj, a loyalist of BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, joined the BJP from the Congress in 2020, but he lost the by-election from Dimani on a BJP ticket that year and the seat once again went to the Congress, which then fielded Ravindra Singh Tomar. Was.
Not ready to repose confidence in Girraj, BJP has now fielded Narendra Singh Tomar from Dimani.
Ram Chitra Mohar, a resident of SC-dominated Khuri village in Dimani, told ThePrint that despite losing the elections in 2018, Balveer did not stop visiting villages. “We have a water pump in the village and it is because of him,” he said.
But while Mohar appreciated Balveer’s work, the villagers also knew that the BSP’s electoral prospects in Madhya Pradesh were limited.
Most of the residents of Khuri village said that they want employment for their children.
Pointing towards the youth returning after a hard day’s work in the fields, Mohar said, “We want good education and employment for our children. We do not want them to spend their lives as laborers for others like us. We want to vote for a candidate who can form the government. Therefore, our votes will go to Congress.”
19-year-old Bunty, who has only studied till class five and drives a vehicle to make ends meet, was quick to say: “This time, the votes of this village will go to the Congress.”
(Editing: Falguni Sharma)
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