Convincing rebels to withdraw topped Shah’s priorities during last MP visit - Hindustan Times
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Convincing rebels to withdraw topped Shah’s priorities during last MP visit

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Nov 01, 2023 04:49 AM IST

Denial of tickets has prompted many Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rebels to contest as independent candidates or to defect to other parties.

Convincing rebels to withdraw their candidature to deny the Opposition Congress any advantage topped Union home minister Amit Shah’s priorities during his visit to Madhya Pradesh over the weekend, people aware of the matter said. November 2 (Thursday) is the last date for the withdrawal of candidature ahead of the November 17 polls.

Union home minister Amit Shah with chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bhopal. (ANI)
Union home minister Amit Shah with chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bhopal. (ANI)

Denial of tickets has prompted many Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rebels to contest as independent candidates or to defect to other parties. Former minister Deepak Joshi and lawmaker Birendra Singh Raghuvanshi have been among those who have defected to the Congress.

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Shah met BJP leader Dheeraj Pateria in Jabalpur ahead of the latter’s meeting with his supporters on Saturday. Pateria was expected to announce his candidature after he was denied a BJP ticket. Pateria, however, announced he would not contest after meeting Shah.

Pateria quit the BJP and contested the 2018 elections as an independent candidate. He polled 29479 votes while BJP’s candidate Sharad Jain (49467) lost by a margin of 578 votes to Congress’s Vinay Saxena. The BJP has now fielded Abhilash Pandey in place of Jain even as Pateria returned to the party hoping to be nominated.

Also read: ‘Cong ruined Madhya Pradesh, made it a BIMARU state’: Amit Shah in Ujjain

Jain, who was believed to be upset over the denial of the ticket, also met Shah and pledged to work for the party.

Pateria said he had a closed-door meeting with Shah. “I have decided not to contest the election and left everything to the party leadership,” he said. Jain said he exchanged greetings with Shah while promising to work for the party.

On Sunday, Shah in Rewa met lawmakers Mangawan Panchulal Prajapati and Teonthar Shyam Lal Dwivedi, who were denied party tickets. Prajapati’s wife, who filed her nomination papers, was now expected to withdraw her candidature.

Shah met former minister Ranjana Baghel after she addressed a rally in Dhar and attacked BJP leaders. Baghel said they discussed the party’s victory and added the “atmosphere” was good for it.

BJP leader Rajneesh Agrawal maintained Shah meetings were part of an internal process. “There is no problem. The party is contesting the election together to achieve a major victory.”

The BJP has been in power in the state since 2003, barring 18 months between 2018 and 2020. It has faced anti-incumbency and infighting in Madhya Pradesh, where the Congress hopes to return to power.

Also read: Amit Shah raises Madhya Pradesh poll pitch with focus on Ram temple

Madhya Pradesh is the largest of the five states accounting for roughly 15% of India’s population going to the polls in November. The elections are expected to set the tone for the 2024 national elections.

The Congress lost power to the BJP in March 2020 after the resignations of 22 legislators. It defeated the BJP in Himachal Pradesh in 2022 and Karnataka in May. The Congress is particularly buoyed by its performance in Karnataka, where it returned to power on the back of an ideological campaign centred on welfare, social justice, and anti-corruption.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Ranjan Srivastava leads HT’s coverage from Bhopal. He has spent more than two decades in journalism in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, covering political and other affairs. For the past 16 years, he has been working in Madhya Pradesh.

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