Despite tremendous pressure, the party denied a ticket to minister Kusum Mahdele from Panna and nominated Brijendra Singh instead.
Image for representation. (PTI Photo)
Despite tremendous pressure, the party denied a ticket to minister Kusum Mahdele from Panna and nominated Brijendra Singh instead. Mahdele, who was adamant about being re-nominated from Panna, had even purchased the nomination form on Monday to try and browbeat the party.
The BJP’s hectic search for a candidate from the Bhopal North seat ended with Fatima Rasool Siddiaki, the daughter of late Congress leader Rasool Ahmed Siddiqui.
Siddiqui, who was a popular figure in the Old City area in the 1980s, was defeated by Bhopal North sitting MLA Arif Aqueel, who made his electoral debut as an independent. Siddiqui was relegated to the third place by Aqueel in the 1993 elections when he contested as a Janta Dal candidate. Locals claim the veteran leader could not bear the humiliating defeat in which he secured only 7,400 votes and could not save his deposit and thus passed away.
Ever since, Aqueel has emerged as the ‘saviour’ for the local electorate — one of the few Muslim-dominated seats in Madhya Pradesh. Though the Old City areas are plagued with many infrastructural issues, these problems often fail to affect voters’ mandate during elections.
The BJP had not announced its candidate from Bhopal North till the last moment. Many, however, are unsure of Fatima’s chances in front of Aqueel, who has been nominated from the Congress again.
The party has fielded Prem Shankar Verma from Seoni Malwa, the stronghold of sitting MLA Sartaj Singh who had earlier in the day deserted the BJP and joined the Congress only to be fielded from Hoshangabad.
The Congress has announced 229 candidates, leaving a lone seat (Jatara) for Loktantrik Janata Dal led by Sharad Yadav. The last date for filing nominations is November 9.