By L S Herdenia
BHOPAL: With the declaration of lists of candidates by both the Congress and BJP, battle lines have been drawn in 28 Vidhan Sabha constituencies which will go to poll on November 3, 2020.
While the BJP did not have to face difficulty in selecting its candidates, it was a difficult task for the Congress. The BJP list consists of former Congress legislatures whose en mass resignation caused the overthrow of the Kamal Nath government. Majority of the BJP nominees happen to be Scindia followers.
Tulsiram Silawat is being fielded from Sanwer, as expected and Govind Singh Rajput from Surkhi in Sagar. Both Silawat and Rajput will have to quit cabinet on October 21when they will complete six months as Ministers without being a legislator. Another Scindia nominee is Imarti Devi who recently said CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Scindia “want to see her as deputy CM” if she wins big, has been fielded from Dabra, where she is undefeated since 2008. BJP had earlier said all 25 leaders who switched from Congress will be given tickets. The BJP central election committee approved the 25 names plus candidates for three seats vacated by the death of sitting MLAs (two Congress and one BJP). Subedar Sinngh Rajodha, considered close to Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar has been fielded in Joura seat in Morena and former MLA Narayan Singh Panwar will contest from Biaora. These two seats were held by Congress. Manoj Utwal, son of former MLA late Manohar Utwal, has been named from Agar Malwa.
BJP state president VD Sharma congratulated all the candidates. “I extend my best wishes to all the party candidates for the coming by-polls,” he tweeted.
Congress party’s Central Election Committee released the third list of candidates that includes a sadhvi from BJP leader Uma Bharti’s traditional Bada Malhera seat and changed its Badnawar candidate as was disclosed by Dhar Congress unit earlier.
This list declared the names of candidates for Morena, Bada Malhera and Mehgaon seats, besides changing Abhisheka Singh Tinku Bana from Badnawar. Singh has been replaced by Kamal Patel, a senior party leader in the constituency based on feedback from local Congress workers.
With the third list, Congress had declared its candidates from 27 out of 28 seats. The only seat on hold till last was Biora which was finally allotted to Ram Chandra Dangi. This seat was vacated after the recent demise of sitting Congress MLA Govardan Dangi.
Hemant Katare, former MLA from Ater assembly seat and son of deceased former Lo P Satyadev Katare has been fielded by the party from Mehgaon in Bhind district. Mehgaon is a seat which has been won by the Congress twice since 1990. BJP had won the seat thrice, BSP only once and in 2003 it was won by an independent Munna Singh.
Katare junior was elected in a by-poll from Ater seat after the demise of his father in October 2016. He was fielded from Ater in the 2018 assembly elections against Minister Arvind Bhadoria, but lost.
Fielding of Katare from neighbouring Mehgaon reveals that the Congress has still not forgiven party’s former deputy leader of opposition Choudhary Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi for defection on the floor of the assembly in July 2013. Rakesh Singh had defected from the party on a day when the Congress brought a no-confidence motion against the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, four months before the assembly elections.
Choudhary joined the BJP that day but returned to the Congress before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He was one of the names in the race for ticket from Mehgaon which was won in 2013 by his brother Mukesh Singh Chaturvedi on a BJP ticket. But protests from the former LoP Ajay Singh and former minister Dr. Govind Singh made way for Katare’s candidature.
In Morena Congress district president Rakesh Marwahi has been fielded to take on Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalist Raghuraj Singh Kansana. And in Bada Malhera, seat of former chief minister Uma Bharti from 2003 to 2008, the Congress has fielded a saffron clad sadhvi Ram Siya Bharti. Like Uma Bharti the Congress candidate also hails from the Lodhi (OBC) community which has a predominant vote-bank in the constituency. She has been fielded against BJP’s contestant Pradyumna Singh Lodhi, a former Congress MLA who left and joined BJP on July 12 this year. (IPA Service)