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Fifth candidate list for Madhya Pradesh to be ‘most explosive yet’: BJP leaders

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s fifth list of candidates for next month’s Madhya Pradesh Assembly election could be its most “explosive”, party sources said on Thursday. When asked about the list, Home Minister Narottam Mishra declared, “List dhamakedar hi hogi. Aage dhamake hi dhamake hone wale hain, Diwali ka tyohar aane wala hai, (List will be […]

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s fifth list of candidates for next month’s Madhya Pradesh Assembly election could be its most “explosive”, party sources said on Thursday. When asked about the list, Home Minister Narottam Mishra declared, “List dhamakedar hi hogi. Aage dhamake hi dhamake hone wale hain, Diwali ka tyohar aane wala hai, (List will be explosive… expect fireworks… Diwali is ahead).”

The ruling party on Monday ended the suspense over the electoral fate of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, as well as 24 of his ministers, and 57 sitting lawmakers, all of whom were named in the fourth list. So far, the party has named 136 candidates. The Assembly has 230 seats, meaning the BJP has 94 more decisions to make. Many will be made at Sunday’s meeting of the Central Election Committee. Sources in the party’s state unit have said 25 to 30 MLAs might be dropped following negative feedback. The list is likely due during the Navratri season, which begins Sunday.

Among those whose political future remains uncertain are nine ministers; they include Mahendra Singh Sisodiya, OPS Bhadoria, Brijendra Singh Yadav and Suresh Dhakad, all of whom are loyal to Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and who joined his walk out from the Congress in 2020. The fate of the nine aside, speculation around whether the BJP will name Scindia himself persists. The Civil Aviation Minister is a Rajya Sabha MP but has never contested a state election. His potential candidature, though, is in line with the BJP’s strategy for this round of elections, fielding a few big-name candidates in each of the five poll-bound states, especially those with strong local connections.

The party has already named four other MPs and three Union Ministers. However, the buzz around Scindia sparked only after his aunt, Yashodhara Raje Scindia, opted out of this election citing health reasons; the 69-year-old Sports Minister has had Covid-19 four times since the pandemic began. Her nephew may be fielded either from his aunt’s Shivpuri seat or any of the two other seats in Guna-Bamori or Kolaras. All three are in the Lok Sabha segment of Guna that he held from 2002 to 2014.

Meanwhile, the Congress and the BJP have taken pot-shots over lists of candidates, or lack thereof. Mishra also slammed the Congress after the opposition party referred to potential rifts within the BJP, triggered by leaders who were denied tickets. “Congress has no right to question our list. There is no trace of their own… so better if they don’t say anything,” he said.

The Congress’ national spokesperson, Ragini Nayak mocked “internal factionalism in BJP” and said, “I don’t know… maybe BJP is eagerly waiting for our list. There was a meeting day before yesterday in which (ex-Chief Minister) Kamal Nath gave a statement that 140 names were finalised (but) we should not release our list in Shraddh Paksh. There will be no opposition after release of our list…”

IN A NUTSHELL

Candidates named by BJP so far: 136
Sitting MLAs likely to be dropped: 25-30
Decisions yet to be made: 94
Total Assembly seats in MP: 230

SPECULATIONS AROUND SCINDIA

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