3 Union ministers, 4 other MPs & Vijayvargiya — BJP heavyweights in 2nd list for Madhya Pradesh polls

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New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday released its second list with 39 candidates for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh assembly polls, which includes three ministers and four other MPs.

With the party fielding three Modi government ministers — Narendra Singh Tomar, Prahlad Singh Patel, Faggan Singh Kulaste — and national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya for the polls, it has virtually crowded the space for chief ministerial aspirants in the state. 

The BJP has so far maintained that it will fight the assembly elections under collective leadership, refusing to specify whether current chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan would become CM again if it is voted to power. Tomar was earlier appointed as convenor of the party’s election management committee for the MP polls.

“With Union ministers and even Kailash Vijayvargiya ji being fielded, the message of the party is clear that the chief minister will be decided after the results. It also means that all the leaders will put in their best efforts as they all seem to have a chance,” a senior BJP leader told ThePrint.

The party leader further said: “The move clearly shows how significant the elections are for the party and it is going to be quite aggressive in its election campaign too. The fact that the list has been released much before the polls are announced shows that the party has a clear strategy in place and it will follow that to ensure there are no loopholes ahead of the elections. It will also give enough time to the candidates to reach out to the voters.” 

The seven MPs on the list include Rakesh Singh, Ganesh Singh, Riti Pathak, and Uday Pratap Singh.

The BJP has fielded Union minister Tomar from Dimani and Minister of State Prahlad Singh Patel from Narsingpur. 

Vijayvargiya has been fielded from Indore-1 constituency while Minister of State Kulaste has been given a ticket from Niwas, which is reserved for an ST candidate. “Now that Kailash ji has been fielded from Indore, his son is unlikely to be given a ticket,” said a senior BJP leader. 

State BJP chief V. D. Sharma told ThePrint, “The BJP has fielded its senior leaders in the second list and with this work for the third list has started.”


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‘Fielding seniors will ensure there’s no fight for tickets for sons’  

Among several leaders who were vying for tickets for their sons are Vijayvargiya, Tomar, Gopal Bhargav, Gauri Shankar Bisen, Narottam Mishra and even CM Chouhan. A senior BJP leader from the state said, “Fielding senior leadership will also ensure there is no fight for tickets for their sons.”  

Interestingly, the BJP has not given a ticket to Kedarnath Shukla, a sitting MLA from Sidhi, from where Riti Pathak has been fielded instead. Pathak is a sitting MP from Singrauli. 

Kedarnath Shukla was linked to Pravesh Shukla, who was arrested in July after allegedly urinating on tribal man Dashmat Rawat. The incident had led to discontent among the tribal voters in the region, who the BJP had been working to win over through an exhaustive outreach programme. 

This is the first time that the party has released a list of candidates months before the elections, and even before the Election Commission has announced the poll dates. Other parties are yet to release their lists of candidates.

The party had released its first list, also of 39 candidates, on 17 August. 

Madhya Pradesh is not the only state where the party has deployed its strategy of fielding MPs. Last month, the BJP announced that it would be fielding Lok Sabha MP from Durg (Chattisgarh) Vijay Baghel from Chhattisgarh’s Patan constituency, to potentially contest against state chief minister and Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel, the incumbent MLA there. Vijay Baghel is the chief minister’s nephew.

In the 2018 Madhya Pradesh assembly polls, the BJP had emerged as the second-largest party, winning 109 seats, just shy of the Congress’s tally of 114 in the 230-member assembly. However, the BJP formed government in 2020, after a group of Congress MLAs led by senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia defected.

Imarti Devi, who had quit the Congress to join the BJP when Scindia had joined, has been fielded from Dabra, which is reserved for an SC candidate. 

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)


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