Setting speculation to rest, the Bharatiya Janata Party has declared the candidature of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and former Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh from their traditional seats. Chouhan has been put up from Budhni, a seat he has represented since 2006, and Singh has been picked as a candidate from Rajnandgaon, which he has represented since 2008.
The BJP, however, is yet to declare a ticket for former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, and no candidate has been announced so far from her traditional seat of Jhalrapatan, which she has represented since 2003. Union minister and Jodhpur MP Gajendra Shekhawat has also not been announced as a candidate in the state election yet amid speculation that he may be pitted against chief minister Ashok Gehlot from Sardarpura, which the Congress leader has been continuously winning since 1998.
The BJP has not projected any of these top leaders as chief ministerial candidates in their respective states and has decided to go with the formula of “collective leadership” under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party’s lotus symbol. Instead, multiple senior leaders in states, including Members of Parliament, have been given tickets in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh on the lines of Madhya Pradesh. Seven MPs featured in the first candidate list of 41 announced for Rajasthan by the BJP on Monday while three MPs featured in the list of 64 tickets announced for Chhattisgarh by the party. This takes the total number of MPs put up by the BJP in these three states to 17 now. The names include top leaders like union minister Narendra Singh Tomar in Madhya Pradesh, Rajyavardhan Rathore, Kirodi Lal Meena, and Diya Kumari in Rajasthan, and Arun Sao and Renuka Singh in Chhattisgarh.
The BJP has not announced the candidature of union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia so far, though his aunt Yashodhara Raje Scindia has announced that she will not contest the elections and her long-standing seat of Shivpuri is vacant. Shivpuri is in the Gwalior-Chambal region, a stronghold of the Scindias. Chouhan, the incumbent CM, will have to contend with strong competitors for the CM chair in Tomar and Scindia, if that happens, and the BJP wins.
The ticket announcements for all three states came on a day from the BJP when the Election Commission of India announced the poll schedule. Chhattisgarh will vote in two phases on November 7 and 17, Madhya Pradesh on November 17, and Rajasthan will vote on November 23. The BJP has so far announced candidates for 41 out of the 200 seats in Rajasthan, 136 out of the 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh, and 85 out of the 90 seats in Chhattisgarh. The Congress has so far not released any candidate list for the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
With inputs from News18