Madhya Pradesh BJP faces rebellion over candidates


New Delhi/Bhopal : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday announced its third list of 38 candidates for the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections this month but exclusion of 54 legislators left a section of the party workers fuming.

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These angry party workers from Madhya Pradesh stopped BJP president Rajnath Singh’s car outside the party headquarters in the national capital and lodged their protest as the third list annunced Monday evening left out nine more sitting legislators, taking their number to 54.

Scores of partymen, who had come from Bhind and Shivpuri districts, stopped Singh’s car as he arrived at the party’s national headquarters. A couple of party workers even climbed onto the car.

They were protesting, in particular, denial of ticket to sitting legislator Amrish Sharma from Lahaar in Bhind district and fielding of an “ineffective and unknown face”. The party has nominated Munni Tripathi to contest the seat.

Many party workers alleged Prahlad Bharati was given ticket to contest Pohri seat in Shivpuri district only because he is a relative of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Rajnath Singh heard them out and assured them that he would look into the issue. He sent Chouhan and state BJP president Narendra Singh Tomar to talk to them.

Chouhan and Tomar made desperate attempts to cool their tempers and assured the protesters to settle their grievances.

In a related development in Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal, Dhuli Chand Ureti, sitting BJP legislator from Dindori, Monday joined Uma Bharati’s Bharatiya Janshakti Party after he was denied party ticket.

“The party leaders are not concerned if the BJP wins in Madhya Pradesh or not, but are more interested in getting ticket for their relatives and friends,” Ureti told IANS.

He will contest from Shahpur constituency as a Bharatiya Janshakti Party candidate.

Three other sitting MLAs, Jalam Singh Patel, Haakam Singh and Ratan Singh, have already joined Uma Bharati’s party even before the BJP announced its candidates.

Party sources said most of the 54 sitting legislators who have been dropped had won the last election with the support of Bharati and that was why they were not considered this time.

When contacted, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shanker Prasad in Delhi maintained that the candidates were selected on merit. “Winnability, past performance and loyalty to the party were the considerations to pick contestants,” he told IANS.

The party has so far announced candidates for 217 of the total 230 seats in the assembly. The list includes 13 sitting legislators and a minister. Party sources said the remaining names would be announced in a day or two. The last date for filing nominations for the elections is Nov 7. Polling will be held Nov 27.