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In 1st list for Madhya Pradesh assembly polls, BJP focuses on seats it lost in 2018, those reserved for SCs/STs

BHOPAL: In its first list for the upcoming assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has focused on seats it lost in 2018 and some of them even in 2013, and has reposed faith in 14 candidates, including three former ministers, who lost last time.

In what appears to be a change in strategy, the BJP on Thursday released its first list of 39 candidates, including five women, in Madhya Pradesh even before the announcement of poll schedule, stealing a march over its main rival Congress in terms of election preparedness and finalisation of nominees.

Madhya Pradesh, where assembly polls are due by the year-end, has a 230-member House.

Last week, the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), a marginal player in the central state known for its bipolar politics, had released its first list of seven candidates, becoming the first political party to do so.

The 39 seats for which the BJP has announced its candidates were lost by the saffron party in the last assembly polls held on November 28, 2018. Of these, the Congress had won 38 seats, while one went to the BSP.

Of these 39 assembly seats, the BJP had failed to win some in 2013 too.

A party leader said 14 of the candidates are below the age of 50, while the list has 12 new faces, including Alok Sharma (North Bhopal).

Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia’s loyalist Adal Singh Kansana, who joined the BJP in March 2020 after quitting the Congress, has been fielded from Sumawali in Morena district. He had lost the by-election from Sumawali in November 2020 while contesting as the BJP candidate.

His nomination will certainly boost the morale of Scindia loyalists some of whom were feeling sidelined after switching sides, according to sources.

However, another Scindia loyalist, Ranveer Jatav, who as the Congress candidate had defeated state BJP Scheduled Caste Cell president Lalsingh Arya by a margin of more than 23,000 votes from Gohad in Bhind district in 2018, couldn’t make it to the list.

He resigned in March 2020 like the other Congress MLAs of the Scindia camp and fought byelection on a BJP ticket in November that year but lost the Gohad seat to Mevaram Jatav of Congress.

A cursory look at the list, which includes a number of seats reserved for SC/ST candidates, indicates the BJP has reposed faith in 14 candidates, including three former state ministers — Lalsingh Arya, Lalit Yadav and Omprakash Dhurwey — who lost elections five years ago.

Rajkumar Karrahe, who resigned from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday morning, found his name in the list announced in New Delhi in the evening. The BJP has fielded him from Lanji in Balaghat district.

Sarla Vijender Rawat (Sabalgarh in Morena district), Priyanka Meena (Chachoda in Guna district), Lalita Yadav (Chhatarpur), Anchal Sonkar (Jabalpur East) and Nirmala Bhuria (Petlavad in Jhabua district) figure in the list signed by BJP general secretary Arun Singh.

Former minister Arya and Pritam Lodhi will be in the field from Gohad (SC) and Pichhore in Shivpuri district, respectively.

Jagannath Singh Raghuvanshi (Chanderi), Veerendra Singh Lambardar (Banda), Kamakhya Pratap Singh (Maharajpur), Lakhan Patel (Patharyia), Rajesh Kumar Verma (Gunndaor-SC), Surendra Singh Gaharwar (Chitrakoot), Heersingh Shyam (Pushrajgarh-ST), Dhirendra Singh (Barwara-ST) and Neeraj Thakur (Bargi) are among the candidates.

The other contestants include Omprakash Dhurwey (Shahpura-ST), Dr Vijay Anand Marawai (Bichhiya- ST), Bhagat Singh Netam (Baihar-ST), Kamal Maskole (Barghat-ST), Mahendra Nagesh (Gotegaon-SC), Nanabhau Mohod (Saunsar), Prakash Uikey (Pandhurna-ST) and Chandrashekhar Deshmukh (Multai).

Mahendra Singh Chouhan (Bhainsdehi-ST), Rajesh Sonkar (Sonkatch-SC), Rajkumar Mev (Maheshwar-SC), Atmaram Patel (Kasrawad), Nagr Singh Chouhan (Alirajpur-ST), Bhanua Bhuriya (Jhabua ST), Nirmala Bhuriya (Petlawad-ST), Jaydeep Patel (Kukshi ST), Kalu Singh Thakur (Dharampuri-ST), Madhua Verma (Rau,) Tarachand Goyal (Tarana-SC) and Satish Malivya (Ghatiya -SC) were also nominated by the BJP to contest polls. The saffron party has fielded Priyanka Meena from Chachoda, the seat which Laxman Singh, younger brother of Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh currently represents, while Mahendra Nagesh is in the fray from Gotegaon, the seat of former MP assembly Speaker NP Prajapati.

Deshmukh has been fielded from Multai in Betul district from where former MP minister Sukhdev Panse is the sitting MLA.

Former Mayor of Bhopal Alok Sharma has been given ticket from Bhopal North — the seat currently held by ex-minister Arif Aqueel of the Congress. Dhruv Narayan Singh has been nominated from Bhopal Central, where Arif Masood is the sitting Congress MLA.

Similarly, the BJP has fielded former MLA of Sonkachh, Rajesh Sonkar, from Sanwer in Indore district, now held by former minister Sajjan Singh of the Congress. Rajkumar Mev will contest from Maheshwar in Khargone district, from where former MP minister Vijaylaxmi Sadho in the sitting MLA.

Furthermore, the BJP has given ticket to Atmaram Patel from Kasrawad in Khargone district from where Sachin Yadav, son of former MP deputy chief minister Subhash Yadav, is the MLA now.

The ruling party has fielded Bhanu Bhuria from Jhabua which is currently held by former Union minister and prominent tribal leader Kantilal Bhuria of the Congress.

The saffron party has fielded Madhu Verma from Rau in Indore district, currently represented in the assembly by Jitu Patwari, state Congress working president and former minister.

The BJP has declared Lakhan Patel as the candidate from Pathariya in Damoh district which is now represented by BSP’s Rambai Patharia.

In the 2018 assembly polls, the Congress had won 114 seats, while the BJP finished closely second with 109. The Congress, which was two short of a simple majority, went on to form a government under the leadership of party veteran Kamal Nath with the support of Independents, MLAs from the BSP and the SP.

However, the Nath government collapsed after 15 months when a section of Congress MLAs, most of them loyal to Scindia, quit and joined the BJP. The saffron party returned to power in March 2020 with Shivraj Singh Chouhan as chief minister for a fresh term.

Source: Press Trust of India

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