Scindia family not active in MP poll scenario

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Bhopal, Nov 12: The erstwhile Scindia royal family of Gwalior is not directly in the reckoning for the first time in the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections though there is a long list of high-profile people in an array of over 3,000 candidates.

Former premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee's nephew Anup Mishra (Bharatiya Janata Party - Gwalior East), Union Minister Arjun Singh's son Ajay Singh (Congress - Churhat), former chief minister Sunderlal Patwa's nephew Surendra Patwa (BJP - Bhojpur), his predecessor late Virendra Kumar Sakhlecha's son Om Prakash (BJP - Jawad) and former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi's brother-in-law Ratnesh Solomon (Cong - Jabera) figure among prominent politicians' kin who are in the fray.

Former chief ministers Uma Bharti (Bharatiya Jan Shakti - Tikamgarh) and Babulal Gaur (BJP - Govindpura), senior BJP leader Kailash Sarang's son Vishwas (BJP - Narela), political turncoat Dilip Singh Bhuria's daughter Nirmala (BJP - Petlawad), former speaker late Brijmohan Mishra's daughter Archana Chitnis (BJP - Burhanpur), former governor Gulsher Ahmed's son Syed Ahmed(Cong - Satna), Union Minister Kantilal Bhuria's nephew Veer Singh (Cong - Thandla) and former speaker Shriniwas Tiwari (Cong - Sirmour) are also in the fray.

Political analysts say though Union Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Jyotiraditya Scindia and his aunt and Gwalior's BJP MP Yashodhara Raje Scindia are not directly in the contest, several candidates in the state's main opposition Congress and ruling BJP were given tickets at their instance.

Mr Scindia's grand maternal uncle Dhyanendra Singh, a sitting legislator, has already announced his retirement from electoral politics, while his wife Maya Singh is a Rajya Sabha member. Ms Yashodhara Raje Scindia successfully contested last Assembly election and became the state's Sports Minister. But later she resigned to contest Lok Sabha byelection.

Late Madhavrao Scindia's close associate Balendu Shukla was denied Congress ticket this time, forcing him to join Bahujan Samaj Party to become a candidate from Gwalior south. Another Scindia protege Mahendra Singh Kalukheda managed to get Congress ticket from Jaora.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan(BJP) is seeking reelection from Budhni in Sehore district, while Assembly Speaker Ishwardas Rohani(BJP) is again in the fray from Jabalpur Cantt.

Former Chief Minister and AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh, who ruled the state for 10 years, kept himself from the electoral battle though he was a member of 12th Vidhan Sabha. His younger brother Laxman Singh is a BJP MP.

Among the veterans, Leader of opposition in the Assembly Jamuna Devi, who won her maiden election in 1952, is seeking reelection from Kukshi. BJP veteran and former Chief Minister Babulal Gaur, who was first elected to the Assembly in a byelection in 1974, is trying his luck for the ninth time as BJP candidate from Govindpura.

Though the state presidents of both BJP and Congress Narendra Singh Tomar and Suresh Pachouri respectively are not in the fray, state Bharatiya Jan Shakti president Ashok Tripathi is trying his luck from Bioara.

State Mahila Congress President Shobha Ojha (Cong-Indore Five), state NSUI president Rashmi Pawar (Cong-Gwalior South) and State Youth Congress President Jitu Patwari(Rau) are other prominent candidates.

Both BJP and Congress were plagued by dissidence over allotment of ticket and many aspirants became turncoats to remain in the fray.

BJP drew flak from its own rank and file over nominating senior leader Sushma Swaraj's confidante Jitendra Daga as party nominee from the state capital's Huzur constituency. Mrs Swaraj, a Rajya Sabha member from the state, and Mr Daga share a common address in Sindhi community-dominated Bairagarh area, close to the airport.

''It is a clash of beard and moustache in Seoni-Malwa, where BJP MP Sartaj Singh, a Sikh, and MP Assembly Deputy Speaker and Congress leader Hazarilal Raghuvanshi, famous for his robust personality and long moustache, are facing each other. Former Pakistan President Pervez Mushrraf, in a casual meeting, could not hide his impression and lauded about Mr Raghuvanshi's whiskers.

In Bhopal, present Congress Mayor Sunil Sood (Narela), former mayors Vibha Patel (Cong-Govindpura), Uma Shankar Gupta(BJP-Bhopal South) and Deepchand Yadav (Cong-Bhopal South) are in the electoral fray.

Both main rivals Congress and BJP have fielded candidates in 228 constituencies each. Congress left Burhanpur seat to its UPA ally Nationalist Congress Party while its Silwani nominee Jaswant Singh's papers were rejected in the absence of B Form.

Similarly, BJP earmaked Bahoriband constituency to its NDA ally Janata Dal (United) and Mrs Saroj Bachhan Nayak was seeking reelection from there. BJP candidate Gopilal Jatav's nomination from Guna was rejected on the ground that he had deposited the security deposit from another constituency.

Notwithstanding its public stand to earmark one-third posts to the fairer sex, BJP fielded only 23 women candidates this time, while 29 women were in the fray on Congress ticket, 13 from BSP and 18 from BJS. Seven BJP MPs were also seeking assembly election.

Polling in all 230 constituencies is scheduled on November 27 and counting will take place on December 8.


UNI

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