Chronicle Reporter, Bhopal, Like assembly election, Congress is trying to bag maximum seats in the Lok Sabha elections as well. Therefore the party aims to field stalwarts at seats considered to be difficult. In this regard chief minister Kamal Nath had invited senior party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh to contest from a tough seat.
Digvijaya Singh on Monday accepted chief minister Kamal Nath’s challenge that he should contest Lok Sabha elections from one of the toughest seats in the state which the party has been losing for more than three decades.
Taking to twitter on Monday morning, Digvijaya Singh said, “Thanks to Kamal Nath ji who invited me to contest from seats where the Congress is weak in Madhya Pradesh. I am grateful to him that he thought me capable of the job.”
In a second tweet, he said, “With the support of the people of Raghogarh, even during the 1977 Janata Party wave, I contested and won. Accepting challenges is my habit. I am ready to contest the Lok Sabha election from the seat my party president Rahul Gandhi wants me to. Narmade Harr.”
On Saturday, while speaking to reporters in Chhindwara, chief minister Kamal Nath had said, “Digvijaya Singh will choose which seat he wants to contest from. I have requested him that he should contest from the toughest seat. There are three or four such seats in the state which the party has not won in the past 30 to 35 years.”
Bhopal, Indore, and Vidisha are three high-profile seats that the Congress has not won in over three decades. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has been winning the Indore seat since 1991. The last time Congress won in Indore was in 1984.
Sources say that Digvijaya Singh is looking to contest from the Rajgarh seat, which he had won in 1984 and 1991. Madhya Pradesh sends 29 lawmakers to the Lok Sabha. In 2014, the BJP won 27, while the Congress won only two seats. This time, the party fancies its chances after wresting Madhya Pradesh from the BJP in the December state polls.
Elections in the state will be held in four rounds — on April 29, May 6, 12 and 19. The two main parties in the state, Congress and BJP, are yet to announce their candidates in Madhya Pradesh. Digvijaya wants to contest from Rajgarh. He has twice been elected MP from this seat and his brother Laxman Singh has been elected five times.
The other seat besides Rajgarh on which Digvijaya has a good hold is Indore. He has been active here for quite some time. There are indications that he could contest from Indore if he does not contest from Rajgarh. Indore will be his second choice.
Congress successful in convincing Meda
Javier Meda is too keen to contest from Ratlam-Jhabua. The party has finally been successful in convincing him. He was a hurdle in the path of Kantilal Bhuria.
Congress is brainstorming to fly its flag in the four Lok Sabha constituencies Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and Gwalior of Madhya Pradesh. Congress, which currently is holding three Lok Sabha seats- Guna, Chhindwara and Ratlam- Jhabua seats, is eyeing all 29 seats this time in upcoming general elections to be held in coming three months.
The state election coordination committee meeting is scheduled and the members will decide the candidates for the LS elections. The panel of names will be sent to the IACC election committee. The LS seats of Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior, Sagar, Jabalpur, Satna and many others have not been won by Congress for decades.
Indore and Bhopal are the seats where the Congress is out of power since 1989, in Bhopal KN Pradhan was the last Congress member of parliament, he had won the election in the year 1984. Similarly, Indore LS seat was won by the Congress, PC Sethi in the year 1984, since then BJP MP has been representing the seat in the Parliament.
Satna LS seat is also having the similar history, Congress leader Arjun Singh had won it in 1991 thereafter, BSP won the next election 1996. The seat came to BJP fold in 1998 and again in 2014. Shawran Kumar Patel was the last Congress MP in 1991 from Jabalpur LS constituency; after that BJP leaders have been winning the seat and currently BJP state president Rakesh Singh is representing the constituency.
The last election from Gwalior LS was won by the Ram Sewak Singh of the Congress party in the year 2004 and in the next election and thereafter, the people have been sending BJP elader to parliament from the constituency. Congress state media vice president Bhupendra Gupta claimed that BJP influence is on decline in the state as well as in the nation and this will help the Congress.
“The party is targeting all 29 LS seats and has appointed LS in-charges. These incharges are preparing report and also looking for the suitable winnable candidate seat-wise”. Modi magic is on decline and people have come to know the reality of the BJP candidates, said Gupta, adding that Congress numbers will be much higher in the Lok Sabha elections here.
The BJP parliamentarians have been ignoring their constituencies as Sushma Swaraj the external affairs minister who represents Vidisha constituency never visited the constituency after winning the elections.
“Sangh’s influence is limited to the urban areas. The local BJP leadership couldn’t gain people’s trust, build a network strong enough to get votes without the support of outside leaders,” said a BJP functionary.
In public, however, the RSS and the BJP deny their weaknesses. “The RSS does have a presence in the constituency. Don’t link it with electoral politics,” said Malwa prant sanghchalak Prakash Shastri.
“Kantilal Bhuria’s win is his personal victory and not that of the Congress,” national BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said.
Many leaders are unnerved
For the Lok Sabha ticket, BJP is taking feedback from various agencies. This has caused nervousness among many party leaders. The party will decide tickets on the basis of the feedback obtained.
Many party stalwarts of the region fear they could be denied ticket. Among them are Savitri Thakur, Sudhir Gupta, nand Kumar Chauhan and Sumitra Mahajan, who has crossed the age of 75.