MP: Cracks in BJP after first list of 15 candidates announced; Singrauli district chief quits 

After the BJP announced 15 candidates in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, the voices of dissent became stronger in at least five seats

PTI Photo
PTI Photo

Kashif Kakvi

As the first list of candidates for ensuing General Election came out, cracks have begun to emerge in the Madhya Pradesh unit of the BJP. After the party announced 15 candidates on Saturday, the voices of dissent became stronger in at least five seats.

In Sidhi parliamentary constituency, BJP’s Singrauli district president Kanti Shirsh Devsingh aka Raja Saheb, resigned with his supporters on Sunday. In Tikamgarh, Shahdol, Khandwa and Mandsaur seats, party workers have started protesting against the official candidates.

In Singrauli Parliamentary constituency, a large number of the BJP workers had been demanding a local candidate for Sidhi, and are not in favour of the sitting MP Riti Pathak, who was blamed for alleged misuse of government funds last year.

As soon Pathak’s name was announced by the BJP, Singrauli BJP president Kanti Singh tendered his resignation with his supporters in protest of Pathak’s candidature.

“Party workers wanted a local candidate but the leadership did not accept their demand. I can’t withstand the ire of party workers and have decided to quit as district president. I am not quitting the party and will continue to support the leadership,” Kanti Singh told media after his resignation.

Singh also said that after a survey it came to light that the public opinion was against Pathak and party workers were also not happy with her. Former MP Govind Mishra and present MLA Kedarnath Shukla are also against Pathak.

“Singrauli district has always added numbers to Sidhi Lok Sabha seat. In 2013 and 2018 assembly polls, BJP won all three seats -- Chitrangi, Singrauli and Deosar. In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Singrauli contributed to the victory of the party. But, the demand of a local candidate was not accepted,” he lamented.

Sources in the BJP said party workers had complained to the state leadership against Pathak. BJP MLA Kedarnath Shukla had opposed Pathak in the 2014 polls as well. He was among the claimants for Sidhi Lok Sabha seat this time, but was denied again.

Similarly, in Shahdol, sitting MP Gyan Singh has been replaced by Himadri Singh, who he had defeated in the 2016 by poll. He said that he was not taken into confidence before being dropped.

“I was expecting the Shahdol ticket. In 2016 bypoll, I was a cabinet minister in the state when asked to contest the Lok Sabha seat. I was unwilling, but could not defy the party diktat. Now, the candidate I defeated in 2016 has been chosen as the best option,” Gyan Singh said adding that he would not oppose the decision.

Sources said that the tribal workers and supporters of the BJP are not happy with this.  Himadri Singh had joined the BJP barely three days before her candidature was announced. “Himadri Singh was a Congress leader and had opposed BJP for a long time. Her nomination from BJP will demoralise the dedicated party workers,” said a senior district BJP functionary.

In Tikamgarh, a group of BJP workers -- including three MLAs --had written to party chief Amit Shah, a few hours before the list was released, against sitting MP and Union minister Virendra Kumar. “I am ready to bear the burden of this responsibility but would also say that it’s the party organisation, and not an individual, fighting the election. I urge party workers to look at the common objectives given to us by the party leadership in this Lok Sabha elections, Kumar said.

Voices of dissent were also heard in Mandsaur, Tikamgarh and Khandwa. In Mandsaur, BJP workers had demanded that sitting MP Sudhir Gupta be changed. In Khandwa, supporters of former state BJP chief Nandkumar Singh Chauhan burst crackers and danced after his name was announced, but some party workers opposed his candidature.

The BJP had to face similar anger of the party leaders and workers for not giving tickets to certain people during the assembly elections. Similarly, distribution of tickets has kicked up anger in the party before the Lok Sabha Elections.

After reports of unrest, stalwarts like Shivraj Singh Chouhan, State BJP Chief Rakesh Singh and Suhas Bhagat met in the afternoon to discuss the situation. “The ticket distribution was made with the best options in mind. The decision by the party leadership is up to the mark,” Chouhan told the reporters.

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