In a surprise move, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded a number of its sitting union ministers and a total of seven Members of Parliament for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly election.
Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Prahlad Singh Patel and Faggan Singh Kulaste featured in the the second list of 39 candidates for the state polls which was released by the party on Monday night.
Tomar, who is considered to be one of the most trusted ministers in PM Narendra Modi’s cabinet has been fielded from Dimani constituency, which is a part of the Morena district in Chambal region.
Agriculture Minister Tomar, a sitting MP from Morena under which the Dimani seat falls, may face some trouble as Dimani is one of the relatively weak seats of the BJP when it comes to assembly elections. Congress won the seat in 2018 as well as in 2020 by-polls. He was recently appointed the state campaign chief by the BJP.
Tomar’s Cabinet colleague Kulaste has been fielded from Niwas, a reserved seat.
Kulaste, the Minister of State for Rural Development and Steel in the Modi cabinet, may not find this a very great idea as Niwas was won by Congress leader Dr Ashok Marskole in 2018.
Another Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel, who recently indulged in a faux pas by prematurely tweeting the cabinet decision on the women’s reservation Bill and then deleting it, has been fielded from Narsinghpur. However, it’s not as a big shocker as Patel, the Minister of State for Food Processing Industries and Jal Shakti, has been fielded from a seat where the BJP won both in 2013 and 2018 polls. The Congress won the seat in 2008.
Another four MPs–Ganesh Singh (Satna), Riti Pathak (Sidhi), Rakesh Singh (Jabalpur Paschim) and Uday Pratap Singh (Gadarwara)– have been asked to prove their mettle in the assembly polls this time. They are not holding any ministerial posts.
BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is not an MP, also found a place in the second list of 39 names. He will be contesting from the Indore-1 seat.
With this, the buzz in the BJP corridor that a lot of sitting ministers and MPs will be asked to prove themselves in state elections has come true. The BJP hasn’t yet released any list for the Rajasthan poll. But with many key MPs and ministers from the state, the Rajasthan list has created enough interest.