At former Congress legislator and now Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Imarti Devi's Dabra Assembly seat, senior Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath's 'item' remark against her doesn't seem to be an issue, The Indian Express has reported.
Instead, according to the newspaper, people in the constituency are ruing the lack of development, soaring electricity bills and the fall in grain prices.
The constituency, which has been a former bastion of state Home Minister Narottam Mishra, has been firmly with Devi since 2008. The former state women and child development minister has won the seat thrice. She was among the MLAs who had brought down the Kamal Nath government.
Sitaram Sharma, a rice farmer from the constituency, told the newspaper that there was a time when his vote would have gone to Mishra since he is a "core BJP voter". But he is no longer supporting the party, at least during the forthcoming bypolls.
"If the Congress returns, we will gain. If not, we have to endure," Sharma said, referring to the Rs 95,000 total combining him and his wife's accounts that they got as a farm loan waiver after Nath's government was sworn in. Sharma added that while the current Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is a "good man", no work has been done.
As for the sexist remark, it doesn't seem to be an issue and the people in the constituency, according to the newspaper, dismissed it as just another "jocular" statement without any bearing on the election.
"The farmers are in terrible shape. Half-completed dams are lying deserted and farmers are struggling with no water. No one is talking about real issues," Pankaj Upadhyaya, one of those the newspaper spoke to, said.
"The development in Dabra has not even been 25 percent in two decades. Mishra was a three-time MLA, but nothing happened. Imarti Devi’s tenure is no good either," Anand Gupta, a paint shop owner, said. Another shop owner, Mukesh Aggarwal, told the newspaper that the constituency did not see any development because it did not have an MLA from the ruling party.
"With the BJP government in the state, we want to choose a BJP candidate and see if there is any change on the ground," Aggarwal said.
Bypolls to 28 Madhya Pradesh Assembly seats will be held on November 3.