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Internal rumblings over denial of tickets a concern as Congress, BJP gear up for MP bypolls

BJP is facing displeasure of ignored ticket aspirants in all four constituencies

Congress-BJP-logos Representational image

Internal rumblings over denial of tickets in both the ruling BJP and to a lesser degree in the Congress seem to be main the concern in bypolls to Khandwa parliamentary constituency and three assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh as filing of nominations have been completed.

The bypolls are being watched with interest as they are being touted as the semifinals before the 2023 assembly polls.

The BJP has fielded surprise candidates for the bypolls, keeping the strong aspirants at bay. In Khandwa parliamentary seat, where the bypoll is necessitated by the death of senior leader Nandkumar Chauhan, the party chose Gyaneshwar Patil, an OBC leader close to Chauhan, over his son Harshvardhan Chauhan who was being considered a natural and strong aspirant for the seat.

Harshvardhan, though giving out statements  that his present and future is with BJP, has shown his displeasure by staying away from the nomination filing process of Patil even as both Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the state BJP president V.D. Sharma were present. He also gave a miss to the visit of Sharma to Burhanpur on Sunday, citing health reasons.

Former minister Archana Chitnis, who had also made her aspiration for the ticket clearly known, though silent, seems to be sulking over denial of ticket.

The BJP has also given tickets to ‘outsiders’ in two assembly seats – Jobat and Prithvipur, causing discontent among the local leaders and supporters. Sulochana Rawat, three time former MLA from Congress had joined BJP just last week and was given ticket from Jobat within three days. Similarly, the Prithvipur BJP candidate Shishupal Singh Yadav had fought 2018 assembly polls on Samajwadi Party ticket and emerged runners-up behind Congress’s Brajendra Singh Rathore.

Another interesting scenario has emerged in Raigaon assembly constituency as here too, Pushparaj Bagri, the son of deceased MLA Jugal Kishore Bagri, was denied ticket by the BJP. Now, five members of the Bagri clan, including Pushparaj, are in the fray as independents, though after a meeting with CM Chouhan, Pushparaj seems to have relented and is likely to withdraw his nomination.

The CM and state BJP president Sharma have repeatedly said in the saffron party, elections are fought by the organisations and not the individuals and there is no discontent among the aspirants or the cadre.

Meanwhile in the Congress, former state president Arun Yadav’s voluntary withdrawal of candidature for the Khandwa seat might have made Congress candidate selection apparently easier, but Yadav seems to be upset and this has not gone down well with his supporters. In a viral video from Saturday, Yadav was seen commenting at a public programme that every time, he grows the crops, but the fruits go to someone else at the direction of party high command. He added that he did not mind this and will grow the crop again.

In Jobat seat, Devendra Bhuria, the nephew of deceased MLA Kalawati Bhuria, has filed nomination as an independent after the Congress decided to make Alirajpur district president Mahesh Patel its candidate. Devendra said his fight was about the honour of his deceased aunt.

The Congress is about to roll its election campaign from Monday, with former chief minister Kamal Nath scheduled to address a mass meeting in Khandwa on Tuesday. The impact of the internal rumblings in the two parties on the poll results remains to be seen.

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