Bhopal: Short of candidates, Congress eyes ex-MLAs

Bhopal: Tasting victory in Assembly elections after 15 long years, the Congress though has started preparations to repeat its feat in 2019 general elections, but has hit hard by shortage of candidates. Left with not many choices, the party might go for candidates who lost their seats to rivals in recently concluded assembly polls.

The state in-charge Deepak Bawaria will be coming to city on Thursday to discuss about the Lok Sabha elections with party office bearers. The general elections are likely to be held between April and May. Out of 29 Lok Sabha seats, Congress is representing only three constituencies – Jyotiraditya Scindia was elected MP from Guna, MP and Chief Minister Kamal Nath represents Chhindwara seat.

Kantilal Bhuria had won Ratlam seat in by-elections. ‘Modi Wave’ in 2013-14 had brought many as 27 seats in BJP kitty in last Lok Sabha elections. Five years hence, the situation has changed as many BJP leaders have expressed their unwillingness to contest LS election, some officially others unofficially.

The Congress too is facing shortage of candidates to give tough fight to BJP in the general elections. Short of candidates, the party is now eyeing leaders who faced defeat in the recently concluded assembly elections, said sources. Former leader of opposition, Ajay Singh, who lost assembly polls from Churhat may contest the election from Satna LS seat, currently represented by BJP’s Ganesh Singh. In 2014 LS elections, Ganesh Singh had defeated Ajay Singh from Satna constituency by a margin of 8,688 votes in a keenly contested polls.

The party is looking for strong candidate to field against BJP MP Narendra Singh Tomar who represents Gwalior constituency in Parliament. Former MLA Ram Niwas Rawat, who too lost Assembly polls form Vijaypur, may be the party choice for the LS.

The party may consider former Pawai MLA Mukesh Nayak to take on Damoh sitting MP Parhlad Patel. For Sagar LS seat, Congress is looking for a Bharamin face to give fight to MP Laxminarayan Yadav. To bring Tikamgarh constituency into its fold- presently represented by BJP MP Virendra Kumar Khatik, – the Congress may go for Dr Vikram Choudhary, Loktantrik Janta Dal candidate who lost from Jatara assembly seat. In the recently concluded assembly elections, Congress had failed to forge any alliance with Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, but had contested the polls in alliance with Loktantrik Janta Dal.

The Congress may again enter into an alliance with JDU for the LS polls and may give the chance to leader Dr Choudhary to take on Khatik . Union minister and Vidisha MP Sushma Swaraj has already declared not to contest the LS polls, so the party in all likelihood may field former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan from the constituency. For Congress it would be tough to find a candidate to give a challenge to former chief minister Chouhan who had won his Assembly constituency by margin of 58999 votes.

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