Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Allaying anti-incumbency concerns, the Congress as well as BJP have retained most of their sitting legislators for the upcoming Assembly polls and infused fresh blood in previously lost constituencies in Bundelkhand region.
BJP gained an upper hand in the area which was traditionally a stronghold of the Congress two decades ago. The Congress performance has improved steadily from two seats to 6 over 20 years.
The region shares its borders with Uttar Pradesh, and thus has pockets of influence of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). The UP-based political outfits try to eat into the votes of the two key contenders BJP and Congress for power in Madhya Pradesh - to expand their base and stay relevant in the central state's politics.
Issues plaguing the region
Bundelkhand, an impoverished and drought-prone region of the state, is rich in precious minerals. The region, despite having a diamond mine in Panna district and iron ore, has battled droughts, economic disparity, poverty and caste conflicts for decades.
Currently, migration because of lack of employment is one of the major issues of the region. Besides, drinking water issue als plagues the region which has several rivers, but most of them dries up much before summers due to improper management of the natural resources.
The region also boasts of state’s only Central University at the divisional headquarters Sagar and state university in Chhatarpur, however poor access to quality education remain an issue resulting in poor employability.
The party had won 20 seats in 2003, followed by 14 in 2008; 20 in 2013 and 16 in 2018 polls- while two more seats were when the SP MLAs switched sides thus taking the BJP tally to 18.
Congress has steadily improved its performance over the years. From winning just two seats in 2003, its tally stood at eight (2008), six (2013) and seven (2018), but in came down to six following the loss of one constituency in by-polls.
The region comprising six districts - Sagar, Damoh, Tikamgarh, Panna, Chhatarpur and Niwari, has a total of 26 assembly seats.
District Sagar- Seats 8: BJP 6/Congress 2
Brij Bihari Pateria from Deori/ Virendra Singh Lambardar from Banda | FP Photo
Sagar district has eight constituencies
Sagar, Naryaoli, Khurai, Deori, Surkhi, Rehli-Garhakota, Bina and Banda. Of these, the BJP has six and Congress two seats.
Congress has fielded new faces in Sagar district including four women. Nidhi Jain (Sagar), Raksha Rajput (Khurai), Priti Patel (Rehli), Nirmala Sapre (Bina) and Neeraj Sharma (Surkhi). The party retained the candidate from Naryaoli from where the three times loser Surendra Choudhary is trying his electoral luck again.
BJP: BJP has given ticket to fresh faces- turncoat Brij Bihari Pateria from Deori, and Virendra Singh Lambardar from Banda.
Kamakhya Pratap Singh - Maharajpur, Lalita Yadav - Chhatarpur | FP Photo
Dist Chhatarpur- Seats 6: BJP 3/Cong 3
Chhatarpur district has six seats - Maharajpur, Chandla, Rajnagar, Chhatarpur, Bijawar and Malhera. Of these, the Congress and the BJP share three seats each. The BJP has changed the ticket of Maharajpur, and fielded Kamakhya Pratap Singh from the constituency.
In the last election party’s Manvendra Singh was in fray. In Chhatarpur also, the party replaced 2018 candidate Archana Guddu Singh with Lalita Yadav. The two seats are with Congress currently.
The Congress has pitted Charan SinghYadav from Bijawar constituency and Sadhvi Ram Siya Bharti from Malhera. There are a few exceptions as Chandla sitting BJP-MLA Rajesh Kumar Prajapati has been replaced by a new face Dilip Ahirwar
Dist Damoh - Seats 4: BJP 2/Cong 1/BSP 1
Damoh district has four seats - Patharia, Damoh, Jabera and Hatta. Currently, BJP legislators represent two of the seats, while BSP and Congress have one seat each.
Reposing faith in the incumbents, the parties have not brought any new faces in these constituencies barring the Patharia where the Congress has given ticket to Rao Brijendra Singh who will face BJP’s Lakhan Patel.
BJP has fielded Jayant Kumar Malaiya from Damoh against Congress Ajay Tandon. BJP’s Uma Khatik has been pitted against Congress candidate Pradeep Khatik in Hatta. Dhamendra Singh Lodhi and Pratap Singh from BJP and Congress respectively are in fray from Jabera
Dist: Panna - Seats 3: BJP 2/Cong 1
Panna district has three seats- Pawai, Gunnor and Panna. Two held by BJP and one by Congress. No face changed BJP has fielded Brijendra Pratap Singh from Panna, Prahalad Lodhi from Pawai and - Rajesh Kumar Verma from Gunnor where he will face Congress candidate Shivdayal Bagri.
Harishankar Khatik( Jatara) |
Rahul Singh Lodhi (Khargapur) |
MLA Rakesh Giri (Tikamgarh) |
Dist Tikamgarh -Seats 3/ BJP 3/Cong-Nill
Tikamgarh district has three constituencies - Khargapur, Tikamgarh and Jatara. BJP has retained all the three sitting MLS from the three constituencies MLA Rakesh Giri (Tikamgarh), Harishankar Khatik( Jatara) and Rahul Singh Lodhi (Khargapur)-
Niwari Seats 2: BJP 2
Pics : Prathivpur- Shishupal Yadav and Anil Jain Niwari
The newly carved Niwari district has two seats - Prithvipur and Niwari. All the constituencies in these two districts are represented by BJP legislators. Shishupal Yadav (Prathivpur) and Anil Jain (Niwari) –
Party 2003 2008 2013 2018
BJP 20 14 20 16+2* (18)
Cong 2 8 6 7-1*(6)
*In the by-polls, two SP MLAs had switched sides and joined the BJP in 2018
*Congress won seven seats in 2018 but lost 1 in the by-elections