By L.S. Herdenia
BHOPAL: After the declaration of partial list of candidates for Lok Sabha polls both Congress and BJP are facing tough opposition from rank and file.
More than the Congress the BJP is finding it difficult to persuade party men to accept the party’s selection and forget the objections they have raised. The saffron party is battling dissent in at least five seats. In Sidhi constituency BJP’s Singrauli district president Kanti Shirsh Devsingh aka Raja Saheb resigned on Sunday along with several supporters. In Tikamgarh, Shahdol, Khandwa and Mandsaur seats, party workers have come out in protest against the official candidates.
In Singrauli, a large number of BJP workers had demanded a local candidate for Sidhi seat and are opposed to sitting MP Riti Pathak, who was blamed for alleged misuse of government funds last year. Soon after Pathak’s name was announced, Singrauli BJP president Kanti Singh tendered his resignation.
“Party workers wanted a local candidate but the leadership did not accept their demand. I cannot withstand the ire of party workers and have decided to quit as district president. I am not quitting the party and will continue to support the leadership” Kanti Singh said.
“Singrauli district has always added numbers to Sidhi Lok Sabh seat. In 2013 and 2018 assembly polls, BJP won all three seats of the district – Chhtrangi, Singarauli and Deosar. In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Singrauli contributed to the victory of the party. But the demand of a local candidate was not accepted” he rued.
Sources in the BJP said party workers had complained to the state leadership against Pathak. BJP MLA Kedarnath Shukla had opposed Pathak in the 2014 polls as well. He was among the claimants for Sidhi Lok Sabha seat this time also but was denied again.
In Shadol, sitting MP Gyan Singh has been replaced by Himadri Singh, who he had defeated in the 2016 by poll. He said that he was not taken into confidence before being dropped.
“I was expecting the Shahdol ticked in 2016 by poll. I was a cabinet minister in the state when asked to contest the Lok Sabha seat. I was unwilling, but could not defy the party diktat. Now, the candidate I defeated in 2016 has been chosen as the best option”. Gyan Singh told media persons.
In Tikamgarh, a group of BJP workers –including three MLAs – had written to party chief Amit Shas, a few hours before the list was released against sitting MP and Union minister Virendra Kumar. “I am ready to bear the burden of this responsibility but would also say that it’s the party organisation and not an individual which fights the election. I urge party workers to look at the common objectives given to us by the party leadership in this Lok Sabha election” Kumar said.
In Mandsaur BJP workers had demanded that sitting MP Sudhir Gupta be changed. After reports of unrest stalwarts like Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Rakesh Singh and Suhas Bhagat met in the afternoon to discuss the situation. “The ticket distribution was made with the best options in mind. The decision by the party leadership is upto the mark” Chouhan told reporters.
After prolonged speculation the Congress finally decided to sponsor former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal. Singh’s choice has been widely welcomed by the party men. Party men have welcomed Singh’s choice because they hope that he may win the seat after a gap of thirty four years. The last time the Congress won this seat was in 1985. The Congress won the seat despite it was facing anger because of Union Carbide gas leakage which resulted in the death of more than three thousand persons. In 1984 the election from Bhopal was postponed because of the gas disaster. It was held after a gap of two months and was won by K. N. Pradhan, a labour leader.
Congressmen by and large hope that though the fight may be tough but Digvijaya Singh may manage victory. The BJP is yet to decide its nominee for Bhopal. Over whelming opinion in the BJP is in favour of Shivraj Singh Chouhan to contest against Digvijaya Singh. BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiay has announced that “I will love to contest against Digvijaya Singh”.
Barring Bhopal, voices of dissent are being heard from Congress camp also. A day after party came out with the names of candidates for nine Lok Sabha constituencies in state.
Not happy with the choice of candidates, local Congressman have started showing their discontent over the ticket distribution for Tikamgarh, Khajauraho and Hoshangabad Lok Sabha seats. Congress has named Kiran Ahirwar as party candidate from Tikamgarh, a seat reserved for Schedule Caste. The AICC decision has taken local Congressmen by surprise. Soon after her name was announced, the party workers were heard inquiring “Who is Kiran Ahirwar”?
Minister for excise Brijendea Sigh Rathore said Ahirwar was not a known figure and doesn’t have any political background. She is daughter of retired IAS officer RN Bairwa, and married to an executive engineer, her father-in-law is Janpad president, whereas her brother-in-law is a Sarpanch, he elaborated.
In Khajuraho, Brahmins and Patels are annoyed over nomination of Kavita Singh Natiraja – wife of MLA Vikram Singh Natiraja – as party candidate. During assembly elections, Vikram Singh had won Rajnagar seat defeating BJP candidate Arvind Pateria by a very low margin. SP candidate NItin Chaturvedi (son of former senior Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi) and BSP candidate Vinod Kumar Patel also gave a tough fight to Singh. After his election as MLA Singh had become critical of Brahmin and Patel community people who now are going against his wife’s candidature. Sensing the undercurrents, the local party workers are apprehensive about her poll prospects.
Besides resentment is also brewing among party workers over candidate selection for Hoshangabad seat. Shailendra Diwan, son of Diwan Chandra Bhan Singh, who was minister in Digvijaya Singh government, has been named as party candidate. The local party men are opposing his candidature as they claim that Diwan who belongs to Tendukharea was not well known in the constituency. Meenakshi Natarajan, former MP and confidant of Congress President Rahul Gandhi is also facing opposition from Mandsaur which she earlier represented. (IPA Service)