THE STATE Congress election committee will meet on October 4 to decide candidates for Vidisha and Bada Malehara by-elections. While the candidature of Jagdish Shukla is almost finalised for Bada Malehra, half a dozen names are under consideration for the Vidisha seat.
As usual, the State election committee is likely to leave the selection of party candidates to the high command. Congress candidate from the Vidisha seat will be decided after the visit of All-India Congress Committee (AICC) observer J P Agrawal.
According to party sources, Jagdish Shukla, who had contested the election against then BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Uma Bharti in December 2003 State Assembly elections, is all set to get party ticket again. There seems to be no dispute on his candidature.
Vidisha, however, has put the party in a fix. Congress has never won the seat after 1984 elections. Names of Rajshri Singh, wife of former MLA Rudra Pratap, Jagdish Yadav, a confidante of Union Minister Suresh Pachauri, two-time MP from Vidisha Pratap Bhanu Sharma and State Congress chief Subhash Yadav’s acolyte Narmada Prasad Sharma are doing the rounds for Vidisha.
The party is also toying with the idea of fielding some high-profile leader like AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh or late Madhavrao Scindia’s wife Madhaviraje. Name of Prof Sabharwal’s son Himanshu may also be considered given the public outrage against the BJP Government following the professor’s death during student council election at Ujjain, said a PCC office-bearer.
Congress sources admitted that on both the seats the Congress stake is not as high as that of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Bhartiya Janshakti leader Uma Bharti. Chouhan has represented the Vidisha Lok Sabha seat five times. In case Congress candidates do better than the previous elections, it will be a big boost for the party.