Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Maihar constituency, Narayan Tripathi resigned from his post and party membership on Friday (13 October) after he was denied a ticket for the assembly elections scheduled for 17 November.
The BJP has announced Shrikant Chaturvedi as its candidate from Maihar. He is considered to be Jyotiraditya Scindia's choice and joined BJP ahead of the October 2020 by-polls in Madhya Pradesh.
Earlier, Shrikant Chaturvedi had contested on a Congress ticket against BJP's Narayan Tripathi in the 2018 elections in Maihar but lost by a margin of less than 3,000 votes.
Maihar falls in the Vindhya region, also known as Baghelkhand, of Madhya Pradesh, and was recently announced as a district, taking the total count of districts in the state to 55.
Notably, Tripathi has been raising the demand of a separate Vindhya state for quite some time now and even created a party named Vindhya Janata Party in July with a claim to contest 43 seats in the assembly elections.
Another incident happened in July where he embarassed the party during local body elections by claiming that government officials were openly campaigning for BJP candidates, despite the fact that his son Vikas was elected as member of Maihar janpad panchayat on the BJP symbol.
It is said that he was denied a ticket due to such anti-party activities. Now the speculations are high that he might go back to Congress as reportedly he is in touch with senior Congress leaders.
Tripathi was earlier with the Samajwadi Party (SP) and won the 2003 election from Maihar on an SP ticket. He then joined the Congress in 2009 and contested the 2013 elections on Congress ticket, winning by a margin of around 7,000 votes.
However, he joined BJP in 2016 without completing his term as a Congress MLA and then won Maihar by-polls on BJP ticket with a margin of over 28,000 votes.
Notably, Vindhya region is BJP's stronghold but the party has often been accused of not giving enough attention to this area. Despite winning 24 of the 30 seats here in 2013, not a single leader from the region was inducted in the state cabinet.
However, by announcing Maihar and Mauganj as new districts from the region, Shivraj Singh Chouhan government has tried to address regional aspirations.
Talking of the larger region, Baghelkhand, BJP has never won less than 36 of the 56 seats since 2008. However, the Maihar seat has been switching its MLAs between BJP and Congress since 2003.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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