BY Sundeep Pouranik
Bhopal, March 25 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is caught in a political dilemma in Madhya Pradesh after the Congress fielded former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh from the Bhopal constituency for the Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP is yet to devise a strategy or finalise a candidate to take on the Congress heavyweight who is challenging it in its stronghold. The BJP has been winning this seat since 1989.
According to sources, the BJP is considering names, like former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, party General Secretary V.D. Sharma, sitting MP Alok Sanjar and Mayor Alok Sharma, to nominate for the Bhopal seat.
While a big section of the party wants Chauhan to contest against Singh, the BJP is still weighing the options as Bhopal would prove to be a prestigious contest.
The Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, which will go to polls on May 12, has about 5,00,000 voters from the minority community and Digvijaya Singh is said to have a decent image among them.
The BJP supporters love to discard the minority factor, saying the BJP won five of the eight Assembly seats in this parliamentary constituency in the last year’s state election. The Congress represents the other three in the Assembly.
If the BJP decides to field Chauhan, then he will be facing Singh after 16 years. They had earlier crossed swords in the 2003 Assembly elections for the Raghogarh seat.
Another candidate in the race for the BJP ticket from the seat is party’s National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya. “I have not decided yet, but if the party insists, I will accept the candidature,” he said, adding facing Digvijaya Singh would be a great experience.
Insisting the ticket for Chauhan, the supporters of former Chief Minister say there are a large number of labour class voters in the state capital. While Chauhan has a clean and positive image among them, they are not inclined towards Singh due to his policies as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. Singh was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh for two terms 1993-1998 and 1998-2003.
Whoever may be nominated to the seat, the BJP will emerge winner from the seat, said state BJP chief Rakesh Singh.
In the outgoing 16th Lok Sabha, the BJP had 26 seats and the Congress 3 from the state.
The Lok Sabha elections in the state, which has 29 parliamentary seats, including 10 reserved for SC/ST candidates, will be held in four phases on April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19.