BJP Wins Riot-Hit Khargone, Defeating Sitting Congress MLA By Big Margin

BJP’s Balkrishna Patidar has won Khargone in Madhya Pradesh. The city saw communal riots in 2022.

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The BJP has won Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone seat, which suffered communal riots in 2022. The seat has been won by BJP’s Balkrishna Patidar defeating the sitting Congress MLA Ravi Joshi by over thirteen thousand votes.

Khargone saw communal riots in April 2022, when a Ram Navami procession was passing by the central mosque in the city, the Jama Masjid. The procession, which was taking place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, had reportedly been triggered after it was stopped by the police from entering Talab Chowk, a Muslim-dominated locality. This eventually led to stone pelting, injuries, and shops and houses being burnt. In the aftermath of the violence, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government decided to “punish” the alleged rioters by bulldozing their homes. “The houses of those pelting stones will be turned into a pile of stones,” MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra had said, following which at least 50 properties were bulldozed, and over 150 people arrested.


How BJP's Popularity Grew In Aftermath of Riots

The Quint had reported from Khargone last month how the BJP was enjoying goodwill in the city after the riots, for how it dealt with the alleged “rioters”.

While the demolitions, termed as ‘bulldozer justice’, were widely criticised in the country, Chouhan went on to earn the title of ‘bulldozer mama’ among the sections of Hindus in Khargone, who refer to the CM as that endearingly. Moreover, a wall had also been built between the Hindu-dominated and Muslim-dominated area soon after the riots, and the wall continues to be present even 1.5 years later. Many in the Jameendar Colony, a Hindu dominated area which saw violence, were in favour of the wall and lauded the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government for “protecting” them.

Moreover, many residents had also point out to the difference in the support that state authorities have shown towards Hindu victims of riots and the Muslim ones.

For instance, one of the men part of the Ram Navami procession who was injured was Shivam Shukla, a 16-year-old who suffered a head injury due to the stone-pelting. When Shivam was undergoing treatment, Home Minister Mishra visited him in the hospital and tweeted about it as well. Months later, when Shivam’s elder sister was getting married, CM Chouhan arranged for Rs 2 Lakh to be sent for the wedding.

All of this seems to have worked in the BJP’s favor in Khargone.

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