The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) ministers will campaign for the party candidates in the run up to the Bhopal civic polls, making it a high-profile contest this time in Madhya Pradesh.
The polling is scheduled on January 31. Both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress have fielded their candidates in 85 wards. BJP nominee Alok Sharma and his Congress rival Kailash Mishra will be locking horns for the mayoral post.
Higher education minister Umashankar Gupta, who is overseeing the election campaign, said the ministers will be assigned with three wards each to campaign for the BJP candidates.
"Since all the ministers will be present in Bhopal on January 20 to attend the Cabinet meeting, it will be convenient for them to canvass for the party the same day," he said.
The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government has 20 Cabinet ministers and four ministers of state. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, however, may not take part in the massive campaign.
Gupta dismissed the suggestion that the narrow win of the party's mayoral candidate Krishna Gaur in 2009 had triggered this intensive campaign. "Unlike the Congress, we always take the elections seriously and put in our best efforts in the election campaign," he said.
"The BJP government has spent nearly Rs 100 crore on development of Bhopal in the last five years. The leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre and Chouhan at the state had put the BJP much ahead of the Congress," Gupta added.