In Indore, Congress sets up a BJP vs NOTA in Lok Sabha elections - Hindustan Times
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In Indore, Congress sets up a BJP vs NOTA in Lok Sabha elections

May 10, 2024 09:38 PM IST

Indore: Akshya Kanti Bam stunned the Congress on April 29 when he went to the returning officer with BJP leaders and withdrew his nomination

BHOPAL: Days after the Congress Lok Sabha candidate from Indore, Akshya Kanti Bam, withdrew his nomination at the last moment, the party has put its weight behind a campaign asking people to go to vote, NOTA, when the city votes in the fourth phase on May 13.

Indore Lok Sabha elections: Congress leaders said they were hoping to build a new record for the highest number of NOTA votes (X/PatelNadeem)
Indore Lok Sabha elections: Congress leaders said they were hoping to build a new record for the highest number of NOTA votes (X/PatelNadeem)

Bam stunned the Congress on April 29 when he went to the Indore district collector’s office along with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister Kailash Vijayvargiya and BJP legislator Ramesh Mendola, and withdrew his nomination. Vijayvargiya announced Akshya Kanti Bam’s surprising move in a post on X. H, along with a photograph with Bam and other senior state BJP leaders. Bam later joined the BJP, which had repeated sitting MP Shankar Lalwani, 62, from the Indore seat.

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An Indore Congress leader said the party decided against backing any of the 13 other candidates and came around to asking people to press the NOTA (None of the Above) key on the electronic voting machines on May 13 to teach the BJP a lesson and has been organising torch rallies, meetings

Indore Congress leader Devendra Yadav said, “An attempt was made by BJP to win the election through undemocratic way. Now, we want to show people the power of democracy. People will vote for NOTA to give a befitting reply to BJP,” he said.

Yadav added: “Indore will hit the headlines again on June 4 for casting the highest number of votes to NOTA.”

As the NOTA campaign picked up, the BJP, which had has also had to step up to counter the narrative that blames the BJP for the unusual situation.

A senior BJP leader acknowledged that their election campaign had slowed down and political leaders had stopped their outreach after Bam withdrew his nomination. “The NOTA campaign will have no impact though it may impact the victory margin and can send wrong message. We have started a campaign to connect with voters on Ram Temple and to resolve the Bhojshala issue,” he said, a reference to the Archaeological Survey of India conducting its survey in Bhojshala.

Bhojshala is a protected 11th-century monument, which Hindus consider to be a temple dedicated to Vagdevi (Goddess Saraswati) and claim it was built by the 11th century ruler of Malwa, Bhoja Parmara, also known as Raja Bhoj. Muslims, on the other hand, call it Kamal Maula Mosque and claim that prayers have been offered at the mosque since 1910.

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