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In Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, BJP Covers Backward Community Seats First

Bhopal:

The BJP has released the first list of candidates for Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh assembly elections, in which 21 names have been announced from the first and 39 from the second. A chunk of names names are for the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes — a voter group the BJP has been trying hard to break into. Most of the seats are occupied by the Congress and the early announcement is expected to give the candidates more time to work on drumming up support.

The seats include six of 34 seats in the Gwalior-Chambal zone. There are 14 faces who lost the elections in 2018, including 7 former ministers — Achal Sonkar, Nanaji Mohad, Omprakash Dhurve, Aidal Singh Kansana, Nirmala Bhuria, Lalita Yadav, and Lal Singh Arya.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan congratulated the candidates. “Fulfill the trust that the party has reposed on all of you and emerge victorious, best wishes,” his tweet read.

On the Gohad reserve seat, the BJP has given ticket to Scheduled Caste Morcha national president Lal Singh Arya instead of Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalist Ranveer Jatav. Mr Singh is seen as the stronger candidate locally — being a former minister, and the party’s national in-charge of the SC Morcha.

In 2018, Congress’s Ranveer Jatav won by defeating Mr Arya, and later joined the BJP with Mr Scindia. But he lost the 2020 by-election, after which the party made him the chairman of the Handcrafts Development Corporation and gave him the status of a cabinet minister but cut off the ticket.

The BJP list, though, includes many names that have been embroiled in controversies. The list includes Dhruv Narayan Singh, the candidate for the Bhopal Central Assembly. Dhruv Narayan Singh was a suspect in the murder of RTI activist Shehla Masood. Two days ago, the relatives of Shehla Masood demanded a re-inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the matter.

Pritam Singh Lodhi has been made the candidate from Pichor assembly seat in Shivpuri district. Pichor is the invincible fort of KP Singh “Kakkaju” of the Congress.  

A few months ago, the party suspended Pritam Singh Lodhi over his statement about Brahmins. This is the third time Pritam Singh Lodhi will go toe-to-toe against “Kakkaju”.

A few candidates are also members of political families — Sarla Rawat, daughter-in-law of former Sabalgarh MLA Meharban Singh Rawat, Virendra Singh Lodhi, the son of former Damoh MP Shivraj Singh Lodhi, Neeraj Singh, son of ex-MLA Pratibha Singh.

Mr Lodhi has been nominated from the Banda assembly seat in Sagar, which has around 50,000 voters belonging to the Lodhi community. Currently Congress’s Tarwar Singh Lodhi is the MLA from Banda.  

Kamakhya Pratap Singh, son of ex-MLA Manvendra Singh, has got the ticket from Maharajpur in Chhatarpur district.

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