A four-time MLA, Nirmala Bhuria, could be the ruling BJP’s choice to defend the prestigious Ratlam Lok Sabha seat, wrested by her late father from the Congress which had lorded over the constituency continuously for 34 years.
The Ratlam seat in Madhya Pradesh, reserved for scheduled tribe candidates, fell vacant after the death of sitting MP Dilip Singh Bhuria in June at the age of 71.
By-election to the seat is likely to be announced along with the dates of assembly polls in Bihar, due later this year.
For the BJP, retaining the Ratlam seat would be the icing on the cake after its stupendous show in the recent urban civic body polls. Despite the Congress’ relentless campaign against the ruling party over the Vyapam scam, the BJP managed to win eight of the 10 posts of chairpersons for which polls were held on August 12.
BJP sources indicated that the leadership has almost concluded that Bhuria’s daughter Nirmala, 48, was the best bet to retain the seat, a Congress stronghold, till the former MP won it last year riding a nationwide BJP wave.
“Fielding Nirmala Bhuria would send out an emotional appeal to the people,” said a BJP leader who is working on the party’s strategy for the bypolls.
Sources in the party, however, said that Nirmala herself is not very keen to contest the Lok Sabha election and is looking for a place in the state cabinet in the next expansion.
Nirmala, according to sources close to her, feels being a senior MLA is better than being a first-time MP.
“(However) If the CM feels she should contest, she will have to,” said the party leader.
The Congress is likely to field a veteran, Kantilal Bhuria, who held the seat between 1998 and 2009 before losing to Dilip Singh Bhuria. Bhuria was a Congress MP for five terms from 1980 before he fell out with former chief minister Digvijaya Singh and shifted to the BJP.
An ‘emotional’ choice
Fielding Nirmala Bhuria, daughter of late Dilip Singh Bhuria, would send out an emotional appeal to the people, feels BJP leadership. The Congress is likely to field a veteran, Kantilal Bhuria, who held the seat between 1998 and 2009 before losing to Dilip Singh Bhuria.