By L S Herdenia,
BHOPAL: The BJP has, finally, decided to deny ticket to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. But the party adopted a unique strategy to declare its decision. There are clear indications that Mahajan was ‘coerced’ into saying in so many words that she is voluntarily withdrawing from the electoral battle. But the language she has used to convey her resolve gives an impression that the decision is far from voluntary. A newspaper has this to say on the development: “In an open letter that revealed her anger, she wondered why the BJP leadership has not nominated her from Indore yet. ‘I am moving myself out of the equation to ease the confusion among senior BJP leaders over selection of candidate from Indore. They can choose whoever they want to’, she says in the letter released on Friday afternoon.”
.BJP was in disbelief at first, with some leaders even wondering if the letter was genuine. But after her press meet, party state president Rakesh Singh said she was the party’s ‘margdarshak and inspiration’.
“Why should I be a margdarshak,” she shot back while talking to reporters in the evening. “I am a senior party worker. Why call me margdarshak? I am not that old. You can call me a senior party worker. I will continue working for the party.”
Asked about the BJP not giving ticket to L. K. Advani, she said “I am not in a position to comment on such a senior leader. Advaniji is 92 and I am 75”. After the letter went viral, Governor Anandiben Patel visited Mahajan and held a closed-door discussion with her. Her letter makes it clear that she is upset at the delay in naming the Indore candidate. “The party has not declared its candidate from Indore. Why this state of indecision? It is possible that the party is hesitating to take a decision” she wrote.
The BJP has kept Indore out of the first two lists it released, Mahajan, who turns 76 in a week, says that she had discussions with senior party leaders over Indore ticket and had “left the final decision to them”.
“But it seems they are in a dilemma. Thus, I declare that I don’t want to contest Lok Sabha elections now. The party can take a decision without any hesitation,” Mahajan wrote. “I expect that the party will take a decision so that the state of confusion gets over and everyone can work in the coming days.”
After her announcement of withdrawing from the contest Congress seized the opportunity to launch fierce attack on the BJP.
PCC media committee Chairperson Shobha Oza said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have put all senior party leaders, including L. K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi in cold storage”. “The treatment meted out to Sumitra Mahajan is no different. It is not only an insult to Mahajan but of the entire population of Indore, who voted for her for so long. I condemn it in the strongest words” she added.
Expressing ‘sympathy’ with the Lok Sabha Speaker media coordinator for PCC Chief Kamal Nath, Narendra Saluja said “It would have been far more graceful for a respected politician like Sumitra Mahajan had she too gauged the minds of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah and declined to contest election the same way Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Uma Bharti did”.
Mahajan is eight term Lok Sabha member. She was first elected to Lok Sabha defeating P. C. Sethi, former Union Minister and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, in 1989. After her victory she joined the list of giant killerS.
Besides Mahajan there are also some other senior BJP leaders who are not sure from which constituency they will contest. List of such leaders includes Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar who normally contests from Gwalior but he is being shifted to Morena. This change is being effected in view of the possibility that Jyotiraditya Scindia’s wife may be sponsored by the Congress. It is on record that no leader howsoever powerful he may be cannot defeat a member of Scindia royal family. It may be recalled that Atal Bihari Vajpayee was defeated by Madhav Rao Scindia in 1984 – the election held after Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
That seems to be the reason that Tomar is being shifted. “I am not sure from where to contest this election. I don’t know whether I will fight the election from Morena or not.” Tomar told BJP workers at a party meeting in Pohri town of Shivpuri district.
Tomar’s statement reveals the uncertainty BJP leaders are facing due to the delay in announcement of candidates. Tomar, sitting Gwalior MP, has been moved to Morena this time. The veteran leader made the statement while replying to queries from party workers in Shivpuri on whether he would be shifted from Morena as well. “A worker asked me to contest the election from Gwalior. Another mentioned Morena. But I am not sure whether I will contest this election from Morena or not” said Tomar.
It was not important that he should contest the election he said. ”Where from should I contest the election? From this place or any other seat? One should keep in mind that it is not important to become a member of Parliament. What’s important is that everybody must work to strengthen the BJP. If the party is strong and you are a part of it, your relation with the party continues till the last breath” he said. “Tomar’s statement is an indication that he is losing hope. He is not sure whether he will win so he is unable to decide. Congress is sure to win against Tomar in Morena this time” said Congress state spokesperson JP Dhanopia.
Besides BJP, Congress has not yet decided candidates for all the 29 seats. But meanwhile Congress has chosen a folk singer Prahalad Singh Tapania for the Dewas Lok Sabha seat. Tapania, 65 is the first and the only folk artist to be fielded in Lok Sabha election by a mainstream political party in the state.
For Tapania who sings Kabir bhajans in Malwi folk style, his nomination was a surprise. “No I had nothing to do with politics and I did not lobby for ticket” said Tapania. (IPA Service)