Leaving nothing to chance, the BJP has dropped quite a big chunk of its MLAs for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh assembly elections. The reason being anti-incumbency and low approval ratings of the leaders in their constituencies found by surveys.
The party removed nearly 29 MLAs, including three state ministers, from the fifth list of 92 candidates released on October 22.
But there are three MLAs who were dropped only because the party wanted to send a loud and clear message that indiscipline will not be tolerated.
While father and BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya was virtually forced to fight the election from Indore against his wish, his son Akash — a sitting MLA — has been summarily dropped. In fact, Rakesh Shukla has been fielded in his place from Indore 3. Well-placed BJP sources say Vijayvargiya junior reached out to JP Nadda with a “personal appeal” to reconsider its decision which seems to have changed nothing.
Party insiders say Vijayvargiya Junior lost his ticket not because of any anti-incumbencies but a rowdy act in 2019 that can best be described as ‘batgate’. When was a BJP MLA, he beat up a zonal officer of Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) with a cricket bat for attempting to demolish a building of his supporters. The building was declared “dangerous” in Ganji Compound area.
News18 has learnt that BJP’s decision to drop him was to send out a message that even a son of BJP’s senior leadership will have to bear the cost of their actions.
The video went viral on social media, embarrassing the party’s top brass. Later, Akash was arrested and produced before a local court. He was also issued a notice by the BJP. The matter assumed further significance when it reached Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was said to have frowned at the huge welcome that Akash was extended by BJP workers. Without naming Akash, PM Modi was believed to have told in a meeting, “I don’t even mind losing one MLA”.
Sidhi MLA Kedarnath Shukla’s unceremonious snub by his party was due to a scandal that rocked the entire nation forcing Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to wash off the feet of the victim.
A few months ago, a video went viral on social media where Parvesh Shukla, a close aide of MLA Kedarnath Shukla, was seen urinating on a tribal man. The incident became a national headline overnight giving the opposition an issue on a platter in an election where caste plays a crucial role. The BJP scrambled to minimise the damage by arresting Parvesh Shukla under the stringent National Security Act (NSA). The Madhya Pradesh government bulldozed what it called “illegal encroachments” by Shukla.
But to make its displeasure clear even after months, the BJP replaced Shukla with Riti Pathak.
OPS Bhadoria is among the three ministers dropped by the BJP in Madhya Pradesh in its latest list. While the other two — Yashodhara Raje opted out due to ill health and Gaurishanker Bisen, who was replaced by his daughter Mausam Bisen — can’t be dubbed as ignored, Bhadoria — a Scindia loyalist — surely was cold-shouldered.
In October last year, a video of Madhya Pradesh’s cooperative minister on social media showed him accusing some “clever castes” of misusing Kshatriyas while talking about uniting and establishing a ‘Kshatriya Raj’. He went a step further to promise “support” for any Kshatriya leader of any political hues, from a meeting in Gwalior. The statement didn’t go down well with the BJP.
What’s more? Bhadoria threatened a youth who asked a question to him in August this year amid the early poll preparation of BJP. During a media event in Bhind district, the minister lost his cool and threatened the man in front of cameras. To an uncomfortable question, he shot back, “Baith jao chup chap. Wahin aa kar theek kar dunga. Aa kar dekhao kya?” (Sit down and shut up. I will come there and deal with you. Shall I?)
The BJP top brass in Delhi was not pleased with these repeated outbursts. No wonder, they wanted to make an example out of him to send a larger message that being a Scindia loyalist isn’t a free pass to be rowdy. He was replaced in the Mehgaon seat by Raksha Shukla.
With inputs from News18