They also promised Nath that Sadhus and Sants will not only participate in the Congress’ ongoing Ram Van Gaman Path Yatra from Chitrakoot to Amarkantak in large numbers, but will also campaign for the party.

Speaking to reporters, Mahendragiri Maharaj Dangewale said if Congress comes to power and he is given the charge of the state, he will successfully undertake construction of the Ram Van Gaman Path. “The BJP government acquired land of monasteries, temples and gaushalas and now says only 10 acres will be given, the rest to be acquired by the state. We are strongly against this,” he said.

Mahant Ramdas declared that 20 lakh Sadhus, Sants and their disciples will campaign for the Congress in the state. PCC chief Kamal Nath said “Sants and Sadhus have blessed the Congress party”.

Meanwhile, the election scene has turned hectic with the chiefs of both Congress and BJP visiting the state as part of their campaign. While BJP president Amit Shah toured the Madhya Bharat region, Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched the party’s campaign from Jabalpur, which is regarded as the political capital of Mahakaushal. In order to demonstrate his “soft Hindutva” avatar, Rahul visited the holy Narmada river and performed “aarti’ in the company of Kamal Nath and party campaign committee chief Jyotiraditya Scindia. Posters showcasing him as “Narmadabhakt” welcomed Rahul to Jabalpur for his eight-kilometre long road show.

Rahul and Congress leaders also took an oath, administered by a schoolgirl, and pledged not to pollute or throw garbage into the Narmada ever in their lifetime. Later, the Congress president went on his road show through Jabalpur town, starting from Bandariya Tiraha through Rampur Chowk, Chooti line Fathak and then passing through Shastri Bridge.

Before reaching Jabalpur he addressed a huge rally consisting of farmers, tribals and agriculture labourers at Morena of Gwalior region. Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP of trying to scrap laws that protect the basic rights of farmers and tribals. He also addressed a march organised by Ekta Parishad. The march was to reach New Delhi but terminated at Morena.

“When 16 industrialists want land, thousands of acres are given to them like magic. This is the reason why the Congress passed the Land Acquisition Bill to protect the land of farmers and tribals,” he said.

“We gave powers to panchayats and farmers to decide on land acquisition, compensation was made four times the market rate of the land” he added.

In another corner of the state BJP president Amit Shah addressed several public meetings. In a blistering attack on Congress he asked Rahul Gandhi to give the account of four generations of his family.

“Gandhi asks us (BJP) to give an account of the work done in the last four and a half years of BJP government. We don’t need give you an answer but the people of this country want you to give an account of the work your family did over four generations,” Shah told a meeting of party workers at Dussehra Maidan.

Launching BJP’s Mahasampark (mass contact) campaign in the Malwa-Nimad region, Shah tore into the Congress top trio of Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijaya Singh, saying the 2018 assembly election is a battle between “king, corporate and Mr. Bantadhar” and well wisher of people Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

But the meeting at Indore caused great anxiety to the police. There were reports that a massive attempt will be made to disrupt Shah’s public meeting. In view of this likely threat police took special precaution to avert anti-Shah show and kept off protestors from the venue. The police arrested more than 50 members of Sawarn Samaj (upper caste community).

Meanwhile, an unprecedented confrontation has developed between the Election Commission and the Congress. The Commission has challenged allegations made by the Congress about the voters list and told the Supreme Court that it is ready for an enquiry to expose the Congress.

The Commission stated that voter lists had been corrected in June itself. The court reserved its verdict on petitions made by Congress party chiefs from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

EC counsel Vikas Singh told a bench of Justice A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan that the EC received a representation from Congress about bogus voters on June 3 and the party was informed by June 9 that the problem has been rectified. “On July 31, the draft electoral roll was published and necessary corrections were made as the software employed detects similarity between two voters for the officials to take necessary action after ground level verification” he said. “Despite the voter list being corrected, Congress continues to peddle mistakes in earlier lists and attempts to discredit a statutory organisation, which has earned impeccable reputation for conducting free and fair elections, This is nothing but using forged documents to scandalise the Election Commission,” Singh said.

Appearing for Kamal Nath and Sachin Pilot, senior advocate Kapil Sibal and Vivek Tankha pointed out the same photograph being used for 36 voters in just one booth and attempted to use voter lists to show a large number of bogus voters in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. “We want a CBI inquiry into duplicate voters and fix responsibility on EC officials who have indulged in creation of these bogus voters. Who is the EC working for? We alleged that there are 60 lakh bogus voters. EC says it has deleted 24 lakh such voters. We want an inquiry,” Sibal said. (IPA Service)