Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): As the electoral fervor heightens in Madhya Pradesh, the majority of the state's ministers, numbering 31 out of 33, are grappling with robust opposition in their respective constituencies.
A meticulous examination reveals that 11 ministers are entangled in triangular contests, while six are engaged in closely contested battles, and two face formidable opponents.
Notably, the BJP has decided not to field Minister OPS Bhadauria this time, and Shivpuri MLA and Minister Yashodhara Raje Scindia has opted not to contest in the elections. Examining the historical context, in the 2018 assembly elections, 40 percent of the ministers (13 out of 34) faced defeat, and a similar trend was observed in 2013 when 43 percent of the ministers (10 out of 23) lost their electoral battles.
Let's take a look at how the ministers are encountering the challenges :
State Home Minister Narottam Mishra |
Narottam Mishra: In Datia, Home Minister Narottam Mishra is embroiled in a formidable fight against Congress contestant Rajendra Bharti for the fourth consecutive time.
Initially, Congress had nominated Awadhesh Nayak, but owing to workers' protests, the party redirected its focus to Rajendra Bharti. Previously losing the assembly election by a margin of 2,656 votes, Bharti now garners support from Awadhesh Nayak, a former saffron worker, creating a challenging scenario for the Home Minister. The legal battle in the paid news case further intensifies the electoral dynamics.
Kamal Patel: In Harda, Agriculture Minister Kamal Patel faces a tough challenge from Congress candidate Ram Kishore Dogne, who previously defeated Patel in 2013.
Dogne, with strong support in the Gurjar community, is capitalizing on Patel's slender victory margin in the previous election. Furthermore, internal dissent within the BJP, with senior leader Surendra Jain contesting independently, adds to Patel's challenges.
Madhya Pradesh tourism minister Usha Thakur |
Usha Thakur: In Ambedkar Nagar (Mhow) seat, a triangular contest emerges as a Congress rebel intensifies the challenge for Culture Minister Usha Thakur, the BJP's official candidate. Thakur faces competition not only from the official candidate of Congress, Ramkishore Shukla, but also from the old party's rebel Antar Singh Darbar, who is considered as the frontrunner for the seat. Internal divide within the BJP may also impact the electoral dynamics.
Govind Singh Rajput: In Surkhi in Sagar district, Transport Minister Govind Singh Rajput faces a tough battle against Congress contender Neeraj Sharma. Having switched loyalty from BJP, Sharma holds influence over the voters in the region, challenging the BJP's stronghold. As a BJP rebel, Sharma poses a formidable challenge to Rajput due to his local connections and sway among Brahmin voters in the constituency. Public and party worker resentment against the minister adds to the dissent among party cadres, making this contest a closely watched and unpredictable electoral showdown.
Vishwas Kailash Sarang: Commencing with the state capital, Bhopal, the Narela seat witnesses a closely contested match where Medical Education Minister Vishwas Kailash Sarang is encountering a formidable challenge from Congress candidate Manoj Shukla. A seasoned politician with extensive local connections, Shukla is a fresh face in the electoral arena. Both candidates are vigorously advocating for the welfare of the underprivileged and backward classes, with Sarang highlighting the developmental initiatives of the saffron government.
Prem Singh: In Barwani, Animal Husbandry Minister Prem Singh contends with a tough challenge from Congress candidate Rajan Mandloi, where tribal voters hold the decisive vote. The Bhilala community favours Mandloi, while Barela voters align with Patel, highlighting the complex dynamics at play.
Omprakash Sackhlecha: In Neemuch district's Javad seat, a triangular fight ensues due to rebellion against Science and Technology Minister Omprakash Sacklecha. His rival contenders, Samandar Patel and BJP rebel Puranmal Ahir, add to the electoral complexity. Sacklecha, contesting for the fifth time, faces a formidable challenge from the Congress-rebel-turned-candidate Patel.
Mohan Yadav: In Ujjain (South), Higher Education Minister Dr Mohan Yadav contends with Congress' Chetan Yadav in a closely contested battle. While Mohan holds a strong rural network, Chetan's influence prevails in urban areas. The land issue further complicates the electoral landscape for Yadav.
Hardeep Singh Dang: In Suwasara of Mandsaur district, an anti-defection wave is underway against Renewable Energy Minister Hardeep Singh Dang, who finds himself in direct competition with Congress's Rakesh Patidar. OBC voters play a crucial role in determining the outcome of this electoral battle, and the prevailing resentment against Dang due to his defection adds an additional layer of complexity to the contest.
Suresh Rathkheda: In Pohri, Minister of State Suresh Rathkheda faces challenges arising from the division of caste votes. Congress has nominated Kailash Kushwaha, while BSP has fielded Congress rebel Pradyumna Verma from the Dhakad community. Rathkheda's switch from Congress to BJP, coupled with Kushwaha's departure from BSP to join the Congress, has left voters in the Pohri assembly seat dissatisfied and grappling with issues related to basic facilities. Bharat Singh Kushwaha : In the Gwalior Rural seat, the fate of Horticulture Minister Bharat Singh Kushwaha hinges on the BSP's influence, as he contends against Congress's Saheb Singh Gurjar. In the previous election, Saheb Singh contested from BSP and narrowly lost by 1517 votes. This time, the BSP places its bet on Suresh Baghel, and the number of votes the BSP secures will determine the outcome for the Horticulture Minister. The seat, characterised by a contest between Gurjar and other communities, holds the potential for surprising results.
Arvind Bhadauria: In the Ater assembly seat of Bhind district, the Samajwadi Party emerges as a formidable obstacle for Cooperatives Minister Arvind Bhadauria, who faces Congress candidate Hemant Katare. This marks the third consecutive face-off between Bhadauria and Katare in the elections. Katare, carrying the legacy of his late father and former Congress minister Satyadev Katare, has the additional support of former BJP MLA Munna Singh Bhadauria, who challenges the BJP candidate by contesting from the Samajwadi Party. Congress appears to gain an advantage in this triangular fight.
Brijendra Singh Yadav: In Mungaoli seat of Ashoknagar district, a triangular competition unfolds between three Yadav candidates. Minister Brijendra Singh Yadav represents the BJP, while his primary contender, Rao Yadvendra Singh, hails from the Congress. Yadvendra's father had previously served as a BJP MLA three times. Additionally, the BSP has nominated Congress rebel Mohan Singh Yadav, setting the stage for a fierce battle between Brijendra and Yadvendra on this Yadav-dominated seat.
Ramkhelavan Patel: In Baghelkhand region, Minority Minister Ramkhelavan Patel engages in a triangular contest from Amarpatan seat in Satna district. This time, Minister Patel faces off against Congress's Dr. Rajendra Kumar Singh. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) introduces Changelal Kol, who secured 37,000 votes in the previous election, posing a challenge to the BJP. The intriguing dynamics of this contest come to the forefront, with the BJP having won by a margin of three thousand votes last time.
Ramkishore Kavre: In Paraswada seat of Balaghat district, Ayush Minister Ramkishore Kavre finds himself trapped in a triangular conflict. A two-term MLA, Kavre contends against Madhu Bhagat of Congress. Local beliefs suggest that no MLA is re-elected after five years, but the BJP remains confident in Minister Kavre. The previous assembly election saw Kavre, as a GGP candidate, challenging Congress's Bhagat, and this time, the trio faces each other with distinct electoral strategies, making victory far from assured.
The unfolding electoral scenario in Madhya Pradesh suggests a challenging landscape for BJP ministers, with numerous constituencies witnessing intense contests and complex dynamics. The outcomes on November 17 will reveal the political fate of these incumbents.
With inputs from Rajendra Sharma