Budhni, MP, Apr 11 (UNI) The Budhni assembly constituency, in focus due to the candidature of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for an April 24 bypoll, is once again witnessing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and main opposition Congress as the principal combatants.
After the deadline for withdrawal of nominations expired yesterday, 16 nominees remained in the fray. They include former minister Rajkumar Patel (Cong), Mr Narmada Prasad (Samajwadi Party), Mr Gulzar Singh Markam (Gondwana Ganatantra Party) and 12 independents.
However, the eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation has Mr Chouhan pitted against the Congressman. In view of the considerable presence of tribal voters, Mr Markam -- who is the GGP's state president -- is also trying his electoral fortune.
Expelled BJP leader and former chief minister Uma Bharti's announcement of backing the GGP has obviously enhanced the political temperature but observers believe that the GGP presence might actually end up denting the Congress vote bank.
Both Mr Chouhan and the firebrand 'sadhvi' are here today and scheduled to address public meetings.
For both the chief minister and Mr Patel, Budhni is not 'terra incognita' as both have represented the constituency once each. Mr Chouhan's ancestral village Jait is within this constituency while Mr Patel has been been actively associated with Budhni for about a decade.
Interestingly, the chief minister goes by the rather longish nickname 'Paon Paon Wale Bhaiyya' in the area's villages by virtue of the fact that he has undertaken several 'padyatras' in the region.
More UNI XC-AC JN GC1616