BHOPAL: The passing away of the BJP MP from Khandwa, Nandkumar Singh Chouhan, has saddened the party, as well as become a challenge for its leaders to maintain the political balance in the area. As Nandkumar has passed away, the by-election will be held in Khandwa. His son, Harshwardhan Chouhan, is one of the aspirants for the party ticket for the by-poll.
Harshwardhan is a strong candidate because the voters’ sympathy will be with him due to the sudden death of Nandkumar. Other than Harshwardhan, another contender for ticket from the area is former minister Archana Chitnis. Chitins tried for a ticket in the 2019 General Elections, but, at that time, nobody even thought about denying a ticket to sitting MP Nandkumar. After Nandkumar, Chitnis is the tallest of all party leaders in the area. Chitnis, who lost the Assembly elections in 2018, does not have any responsibility of the party. So, she may try to return to mainstream politics.
The Election Commission may announce the date for the Damoh Vidhan Sabha by-election by month-end. So, the by-election for Khandwa may be held along with that of the Assembly by-poll in Damoh.
Against this backdrop, BJP leaders have begun to hold discussions about candidates in Burhanpur and Khandwa districts. The supporters of Nandkumar will try hard to get a ticket for Harshwardhan. The victory of Nandkumar by a margin of 2.73 lakh votes is being made ground for giving a ticket to his son. Chitnis is very close to the BJP’s central leadership and to the RSS. She, too, is a strong contender for a ticket.
Equation in favour of BJP
In Khandwa, all political equations are in favour of the BJP. It has won all the Assembly seats — Bagli, Mandhata, Nepanagar, Khandwa and Pandhaha — which come under the parliamentary constituency of Khandwa. Nevertheless, the Congress candidates have won from Bheekangaon and Badwah and an Independent has won from Burhanpur.
Yadav to be Congress candidate
Former state Congress president Arun Yadav, who has protested against admitting into the party a supporter of Nathuram Godse, Babulal Chaurasia, seems to have cooled down. According to Congress sources, Yadav tendered an apology to get a ticket from Khandwa. The Congress cannot find a more suitable candidate than Yadav for taking on the BJP from the region. Rahul Gandhi also likes Yadav, who has had the backing of former chief minister Digvijaya Singh. So, Yadav is set to become party candidate from Khandwa.