The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday released the second list of 39 candidates for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections. The list included Union Ministers- Narendra Singh Tomar and Prahlad Singh Patel. The development comes hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's poll rally in Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal, where he attacked Congress saying if the grand old party comes to power, the state will be again a 'bimaru' (sick).
Besides the ministers, the MPs fielded for the polls are Rakesh Singh, Ganesh Singh, Riti Pathak and Uday Pratap Singh, all from Lok Sabha.
BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya will contest from the Indore-1 assembly constituency.
The decision to field Vijayvargiya has dimmed the chances of his MLA son Akash Vijayvargiya, who had won from Indore-3 in 2018, from being given the party ticket again as the BJP has generally avoided making members of the same family its candidate in elections.
Union minister Tomar has been fielded from the Dimani constituency, Patel from Narsingpur and Kulaste from the Niwas seat.
By fielding several Union ministers and MPs, the party has raised the stakes for the assembly polls and underscored its determined bid to retain power in the state amid a strong challenge from the Congress. Most of them have been winning their Lok Sabha seats for multiple terms.
BJP releases 1st list of 39 candidates
Earlier also the saffron party declared names of 39 candidates for the upcoming elections in the state on August 17. The BJP's decision to name its candidates in these relatively weak seats so much in advance underscores its intent to get the better of the Congress MP, more so following the opposition party's big win in Karnataka a few months back. The lists name five women each in the two states and contain a large number of SC, ST reserved constituencies where the BJP had suffered serious reverses in the 2018 polls.
The BJP has named its national SC Morcha chief Lal Singh Arya its candidate from Gohad in Madhya Pradesh. The candidates were decided at the BJP's Central Election Committee meeting on which was chaired by party chief J P Nadda and attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah among other senior leaders.
It has named Sarla Vijendra Rawat from Sabalgarh, Priyanka Meena from Chachaoura, Lalita Yadav from Chhatarpur, Anchal Sonkar from Jabalpur Purba (SC), Nirmala Bhuriya from Petlawad, Bhanu Bhuriya from Jhabua (ST), Alok Sharma from Bhopal Uttar and Dhruv Narayan Singh from Bhopal Madhya, among others.
The party's decision to announce the first list of candidates so early underlines the significance it has attached to five state elections, the last round of assembly contest before the all-important Lok Sabha polls.
In the 2018 assembly polls, the Congress had won 114 seats, while the BJP got 109. However, the Congress government fell after many MLAs under the leadership of Jyotiraditya Scindia, who later became a Union minister, joined the BJP. The BJP returned to power in March 2020 with Shivraj Singh Chouhan as chief minister for a fresh term. The BJP's current strength in the assembly is 127.
(With agencies inputs)