Millennium Post

Ticked off by ticket mess

Tribal leader Devi Singh Saiyam has resigned from the Madhya Pradesh council of ministers following the denial of ticket to him. The tribal leader’s unexpected move has sent shock waves in the ruling BJP, which hopes to win the upcoming assembly election consecutively for the third time.

And Saiyam is not an exception. The distribution of tickets has triggered a virtual revolt in the party.

There are about two dozen constituencies from where reports of serious discontent are reaching the party headquarters in Bhopal. Almost every day, disgruntled party workers are reaching Bhopal to voice their anger.

Two kinds of demonstrations are being staged. First, protesting denial of ticket to this or that leader, and second, demanding that this or that sitting MLA should not be renominated. The leadership is finding it difficult to calm down the angry party workers. On some occasions, the police had to be summoned to control the fuming partymen.

There is some discontent in the Congress also, though it is not all as sharp or widespread as in the ruling party. The decision regarding ticket of the Congress is taken in New Delhi. Reports of sharp differences among the top state Congress leaders are also reaching Bhopal.

According to one such report, state Congress chief Kantilal Bhuria staged a walkout over the manner in which ticket were being decided. Later, he described reports about his walkout as baseless.

Both the parties have released their first list of candidates for the 25 November polls.

The BJP’s first list was released on 31 October. The list contained names of 147 candidates. The strength of MP Assembly is 230. The list had few surprises. The party has decided to field three Lok Sabha members in the assembly polls. In an attempt to counter the anti-incumbency factor, 22 sitting MLA’s, including two Ministers, have been dropped while two other Ministers have been shifted to other constituencies.

The list includes chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who would contest from Budhni, his traditional constituency, Minister of state for Panchayats and rural development Devi Singh Saiyam and minister of state for water resources Ram Dalal Ahirwar have been denied ticket. Seven Ministers are yet to be allotted tickets and their fate would be known only after the party releases the list of its all its candidates.

The ministers who have been shifted to other constituencies include medical education minister Anoop Mishra.

Surprisingly three sitting MPs have been drafted for the Vidhan Sabha Poll. They include Yashodhararaje Scindia, who happens to be aunt of Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is  presumed to be the Congress’ nominee for the Chief Ministership, Bhupendra Singh and KD Deshmukh. The Lok Sabha members seem to have consented thinking that their victory is certain and when the party forms its government in the state, they can hope to be Ministers.

The list also includes assembly Speaker Ishwar Rohani and Babulal former hief Minister and at present, senior-most member of the Shivraj Singh cabinet. Incidentally, 84-year-old Babulal Gaur will be contesting election for the tenth time in a row. He first contested Vidhan Sabha poll in 1973 as a joint candidate of non-Congress and non-Communist camps. Since then he has contested all the election and never tasted defeat.

The greatest surprise in the list is the inclusion of Arif Beg, a Muslim in the party list. It is for the second time that the Hindu party is sponsoring a Muslim for the Vidhan Sabha elections. Arif Beg began his political carrier as a socialist. He has the credit of defeating D Sharma, former president in the 1977 election. Earlier, he also served as Minister in the SVD. Government, which came to power after over throwing the Ministry leaded by strong man DP Mishra.

Beg will be contesting from a Bhopal seat which as present is being represented by Arif Aqueel of the Congress, who happens to be the solitary Muslim member of the Vidhan Sabha. Arif Beg’s inclusion in the list of party aspirants has caused resentment in a substantial section of the party. Such leaders who are aspiring to contest from this seat are holding out threats of leaving the party.  A section of the party is describing Beg’s selection as a clear-cut move of appeasement of Muslims.

The BJP while repeating all three sitting MLA’s from Bhopal, is yet to decide its candidates from two other Bhopal constituencies. The two siting legislators, Dhruv Narayan Singh and Jitendra Das are involved in serious controversies, in all probability they will not be repeated.

While the BJP released list of 147 candidate, the first list of the Congress contains 115 names. They include 47 sitting MLAs, including leader of opposition Ajay Singh.

The most surprising nomination on the day the nominations opened on November 1 was that of Rajyavardhan Singh, son of AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh. He filed his papers from his father’s traditional constituency Raghogarh in Guna district even before his name was cleared by the party.

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