MP Election 2023: As Fate Would Have It… Shoulder: Out Of Poll Race Just Two Weeks Ago, Hardia Makes A Surprise Comeback

MP Election 2023: As Fate Would Have It… Shoulder: Out Of Poll Race Just Two Weeks Ago, Hardia Makes A Surprise Comeback

Finally, Hardia had won by a slender margin of 1,133 votes against Patel.

Atul GautamUpdated: Sunday, October 22, 2023, 10:22 AM IST
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Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Nobody was considering him as a candidate for the 2023 assembly elections just two weeks ago. He, himself, was not confident of getting ticket. However, as fate would have it, Mahendra Hardia, who was apparently out of the poll race this time around, made a surprise comeback and secured the ticket, all thanks to sudden changes in political equations in Indore-5 constituency.

Though he got the ticket, this election is poised to be the most challenging one for him as Congress has once again pitted Satyanarayan Patel against him. The latter had given a very tough fight to the former in 2018. Things were unclear till the last round of counting in the state’s biggest assembly constituency in terms of number of voters.

Finally, Hardia had won by a slender margin of 1,133 votes against Patel. A four-time MLA, Hardia had first reached the state’s assembly in 2003 when he defeated Shobha Oza of Congress by a margin of 22,998 votes. Both the rivals contested the assembly election against each other in 2008 with Hardia again winning by a margin of 5,284 votes.

Following his second victory, Hardia was made health minister in Shivraj Singh Chouhan's government. The saffron party reposed his faith in Hardia in 2013 and fielded him again from Indore-5. Congress on the other had given ticket to Pankaj Sanghvi, who has a stronghold in the Gujarati community. The BJP candidate had won the election by 14,418 votes.

He had again got a ministerial berth but was dropped in the 2016 reshuffle. After being dropped as a minister, Hardia’s popularity plummeted and there were doubts that he would get a ticket in the 2018 elections. It was Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who ensured his ticket at that time.

But the slender victory margin made political wags predict that this would be his last election! But fortune knocked on his doors once again as Chouhan, who initially had backed BJP city chief Gaurav Ranadive for Indore-5, backed off as none of the senior leaders from the city proposed his name. Neither BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya nor former Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan supported Ranadive’s name.

As no other senior leader had staked his claim from Indore-5, Hardia emerged as the only bankable candidate in the race. Also, he had the backing of most of the corporators from Indore-5. So it’s a high five for Hardia, who secured a poll ticket for the fifth time in a row from Indore-5.

Usha fielded again from Mhow, Golu Shukla gets ticket from Indore-3

Along with Hardia, the BJP also gave ticket to cultural minister and sitting MLA Usha Thakur from Mhow constituency. As per party sources, Thakur was not very keen on contesting election from Mhow but then she was not provided with a choice to shift.

Over the years, she never has had a choice. In 2003, she was fielded from Indore-1. Despite her winning the seat, Thakur was not fielded from the seat or any other seat in 2008.

In 2013, she was moved to Indore-3, considered a Congress stronghold. But, she had snatched the seat from three-time MLA Ashwin Joshi. In 2018, she was moved to Mhow as BJP senior leader Kailash Vijayvargiya had opted out of electoral politics.

This is the first time that she has been repeated on any seat. The BJP also gave ticket to Rakesh Golu Shukla from Indore-3. The vice-chairman of IDA, Golu Shukla is a relative of Congress MLA and Indore-1 candidate Sanjay Shukla. He has been given ticket on the recommendation of Indore-1 candidate Kailash Vijayvargiya.

This seat was represented by Vijayvargiya’s son Akash Vijayvargiya. As junior Vijayvargiya did not get ticket because of the party’s stand against dynastic politics, the senior Vijayvargiya got ticket to his loyalist Golu Shukla.

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