By L.S. Herdenia
BHOPAL: Both BJP and Congress will contest four by-polls in the face of mini internal revolt. The by-elections are being held in one Parliamentary and three Assembly constituencies. The threat of revolt is greater in BJP largely because the BJP sponsored defectors in two Vidhan Sabha constituencies. In one constituency BJP has chosen to nominate such a candidate who joined the BJP only a few days ago.
Two days after Congress, ruling BJP on Thursday morning announced the names of candidates for the by-polls. The party’s central leadership fielded Gyenshwar Patil, a former district panchayat president for Khandwa Lok Sabha constituency. State party office bearers said that he was a close aide of deceased MP Nandkumar Singh Chauhan, who succumbed to Covid-19 related complications in March, necessitating the by-poll.
“Gyenshwar Patil is a very humble and approachable person, much like Nandkumarji. He worked silently for the organisation while Nandu Bhaiyya won the Lok Sabha seat six times” said BJP spokesman Rajneesh Agarwal.
State BJP was also considering the candidature of Nandkumar’s son Harsh and former minister Archana Chitnis from the parliamentary seat but the party’s central leadership approved the ticket to an active worker who served for decades.
In Raigaon (SC) assembly seat, BJP has fielded party’s district general secretary Pratima Bagri, who will be a first-time contender against Congress’s Kalpana Verma.
Congress’s former MLA Sulochana Rawat, who shifted loyalties to BJP last Saturday, has been fielded from Jobat assembly seat. The ST reserved seat is a Congress bastion which BJP managed to win only in 2003 and 2013. BJP denied ticket to its four-time candidate Madho Singh Dawar.
The seat has been vacated after the demise of Congress’s Kalawati Bhuria to Covid earlier this year. Sulochana will fight against Congress’s Mahesh Patel, the party’s district president of Alirajpur, whose wife is also the district panchayat president.
In Prathvipur assembly seat, BJP has fielded a candidate who contested the 2018 assembly elections as a Samajwadi Party candidate. Sishupal Singh Yaday had secured 44,816 votes and was the closest rival of Congress winner Brijendra Singh Rathore who got 52,436 voted. BJP candidate Ajay Singh lagged behind with just about 10,391 votes.
Later Sishupal joined BJP and has been working for the party. He will contest against Congress’s Nitendra Singh Rathore, the son of deceased Congress MLA Brijendra Singh Rathore.
Congress may face stiff opposition in Khandwa parliamentary seat where it was expected that the party may sponsor Arun Yadav who earlier represented this constituency. But the party leadership thought otherwise and chose former Congress MLA RajnarayanPurni.
Commenting on the choice of Congress candidate, BJP said that though the Congress claims to be champion of OBCs its claim proved hollow. Urban development minister Bhupendra Singh Thakur said that Congress’ hypocrisy stands exposed in distribution of tickets for by-elections in MP for OBC candidates.
“Congress always talks about the OBC people, but when it comes to considering them for contesting election, the party acts otherwise” said Thakur, while talking to reporters.
He cited the recent distribution of tickets for by-elections for substantiating his claims. He said that the opposition party in the state did not give tickets to any OBC candidate .Thakur said that the saffron party had given tickets to OBC candidates from Khandwa parliamentary seat and Prathvipur assembly seat. He said the BJP fielded two candidates in by-polls from OBC category but Congress did not give ticket to any OBC ticket aspirant.
“This shows that Congress does not practice what it preaches,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jyotiraditya Scindia received a big boost when he was included in the newly constituted BJP national executive. Scindia is among 15 leaders from Madhya Pradesh who have been included in the BJP national executive committee announced by party’s national president J. P. Nadda. Besides Scindia, quite significance is attached to the inclusion of state Home Minister Dr. Narottam Mishra.
There are 80 members in the executive including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh. Shivraj Singh Chouhan is among the 179 permanent invitees as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and Uma Bharati as former chief minister of the state.
Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar (agriculture) and Virendra Khatik (social justice) from MP are also on the panel.
Mishra’s inclusion signifies a big leap in his political career. He has handled election management for the party in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and, recently West Bengal.
For Scindia, who broke away from Congress with 28 MLAs in March last year, bringing down the 15-month Kamal Nath regime, it’s an indication that he has been fully accepted and accommodated in BJP.
Party national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is in charge of Bengal, has been retained. Others from the state are former MP Om Prakash Dhurve, who is a national secretary and Mandsaur MP Sudheer Gupta, the party’s joint treasurer, while Bhind MP Sandhya Ray and Mandla MP Faggan Singh Kulaste are special invitees.
State party chief V. D, Sharma, organisational general secretary Suhas Bhagat and Hitanand Sharma and Jabalpur MP Rakesh Singh, who is chief whip in Parliament, are also in the committee. (IPA Service)