Several sitting MLAs missing from BJP’s first list for Madhya Pradesh elections

Hindustan Times, Bhopal | ByRanjan and Kumar Uttam
Nov 02, 2018 11:29 PM IST

BJP candidate list 2018: CM Chouhan will contest from Budhni, state ministers Narottam Mishra and Yashodhara Raje Scindia to contest from Datia and Shivpuri respectively for November 28 assembly polls.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday announced its first list of 177 candidates for the Madhya Pradesh assembly election, dropping more than a fourth of its sitting legislators to minimise the impact of anti-incumbency in a state it has ruled for the past 15 years. The BJP has been in power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003 and Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been the chief minister from November 2005.

BJP candidate list 2018: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is on the first list of BJP’s candidates for the upcoming assembly polls, will contest from Budhni.(HT File Photo)
BJP candidate list 2018: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is on the first list of BJP’s candidates for the upcoming assembly polls, will contest from Budhni.(HT File Photo)

Of the 177 constituencies for which candidates were announced, 128 are held by the BJP. In 34 of these, it has changed its candidates. The remaining 49 are not held by the BJP, and in 27 of these, the BJP has fielded new candidates rather than going in for the same ones who lost in these constituencies in 2013. The 34 sitting legislators denied seats include three ministers, Maya Singh from Gwalior East, Gaurishankar Shejwar from Sanchi (reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates) and Harsh Singh from Rampur Baghelan.

The BJP will announce candidates for the remaining 53 seats in a day or two, a BJP leader said on condition of anonymity.

“Ticket distribution has been done in a democratic manner. It is based on independent feedback, input from the party and surveys commissioned. Each of these suggested that the MLAs who were denied tickets had a poor chance of winning,” a second BJP leader said, asking not to be identified.

Hindustan Times first reported that the party would fight anti-incumbency in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan, the three major states were elections are being held, by dropping some of its sitting MLAs.

The Chouhan government has been embroiled in controversies such as the Vyapam scam (for admission to professional colleges and for government jobs), and the party feared that this, combined with a sense of fatigue among people, could work to its disadvantage.

“The challenge from the Congress is tougher this time. We could not afford to take a chance. We had to be ruthless in distributing tickets,” the first leader said.

The Congress has tried to put an end to factionalism in Madhya Pradesh by appointing its veteran leader from Chhindwara and former Union minister, Kamal Nath, as the state president. The MP from Guna, Jyotiraditya Scindia, was named chief of the campaign committee.

Voting for the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly takes place on November 28, and November 9 is the last day to file nominations. The results will be announced on December 11.

At least 50 million people are eligible to vote across 65,341 polling stations in the state which has 35 seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 47 for the Scheduled Tribes.

The BJP won 165 seats with 45.7% vote share in the 2013 assembly election, while its nearest rival, the Congress, won 58 seats with a vote share of 37.1%.

The assembly elections, and their results, will set the tone for the coming Lok Sabha elections in 2019. In three of the five states going to polls before the end of the year -- Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh -- the Congress and the BJP?are in straight fights (although in Chattisgarh, Ajit Jogi’s Janta Congress Chattisgarh, in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party, creates a triangular contest). .

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