Bhopal: BJP has fielded a host of veterans including three Union ministers, four MPs and the national general secretary in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections.
Union ministers namely Narendra Singh Tomar has been given ticket from Dimani, Faggan Singh Kulaste from Niwas and Prahlad Patel from Narsinghpur. BJP's national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya has been given ticket from Indore 1 while MPs Rakesh Singh from Jabalpur West, Reeti Pathak from Sidhi, Ganesh Singh from Satna and Uday Pratap Singh from Gadarwara.
Narendra Singh Tomar is believed to have a good hold on many areas in Gwalior and Chambal. The main purpose behind fielding him in the elections is to ensure that he not only wins his own seat but brings the nearby seats into BJP's kitty which the party had missed in the previous elections.
Prahlad Patel and Faggan Singh Kulaste have a good image in the tribal areas and have been given the responsibility of winning seats in Bundelkhand and Mahakaushal areas. The party is eyeing the Indore 1 seat as a sure shot for Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is said to have considerable influence in the Malwa region. By denying ticket to his son, the party has given Vijayvargiya a bigger responsibility. But, it is certain that the path to victory for these veterans would not be a cakewalk for them.
The list of veterans:
Narendra Singh Tomar - Dimani
Prahlad Patel - Narsinghpur
Faggan Singh Kulaste - Niwas
Rakesh Singh - Jabalpur (West)
Reeti Pathak - Sidhi
Ganesh Singh - Satna
Uday Pratap Singh - Gadarwara
Kailash Vijayvargiya - Indore-1
The Congress has taken a dig at the BJP for fielding veterans. Taking to X, Congress said, "Having sensed defeat ahead, Ravana had fielded Kumbhakarna, Ahiravan and Meghnad. This is what has exactly happened in BJP's second list." Many Congress leaders even went on to say that the BJP is no longer eager to retain these ministers in the Union Cabinet.
The BJP is eyeing the tribals and women voters of the state. The BJP-led Madhya Pradesh government had enacted the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act and publicised it extensively among the tribals. Similarly, the Ladli Brahmin Yojana was started for women. The government has also announced to provide one lakh government jobs to the youth.
This time, BJP's main focus is on the seats that the party lost in the previous elections. In which, the priority is on the Gwalior-Chambal belt where BJP had got only five out of 34 seats in 2018. Next, in Mahakaushal, BJP had won 13 out of 38 seats while Congress had won 24 seats. Thus, BJP is working harder in Mahakaushal area. In Malwa Nimar too, Congress had given a tough fight in the last elections and won 31 out of 66 seats while BJP had got 29 seats. All the stalwarts of the party have been given the responsibility of these areas.
Some political experts believe that the prestige of the veterans is at stake because they not only have to win their own seat but also have to keep an eye on other seats. The challenge faced by these veterans is no less than a litmus test for them and to save their reputation, they will have to live up to it.
Also, BJP has tried its best to convince the dissidents. While some of the dissidents were won over, many old-timers coule not be pacified. Angry after being denied tickets, some dissidents are contesting the elections as independent candidates and may cause disruptions for the party.
Meanwhile, AAP is contesting elections on 70 seats and the party has worked hard in Vindhya, Sidhi and Singrauli.