The BJP's strategic move to field senior leaders, including three Union ministers, in the upcoming Madhya Pradesh assembly elections isn't an isolated maneuver, Times of India reported.
The party is contemplating a similar approach in other states like Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana, with the goal of improving its chances in constituencies where its candidates have historically faced challenges or rarely secured victories.
Among the five states heading to the polls, Rajasthan presents a unique contest with the heightened potential for internal conflicts. The party aims to seek a mandate without officially endorsing a chief ministerial candidate.
Notable figures rumored to be considering participation in the state elections include Jal Shakti Minister and Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Junior Parliamentary Affairs Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, Rajsamand MP Diya Kumari, and Jaipur (Rural) MP Rajyavardhan Rathore.
However, Shekhawat is expected to encounter significant hurdles, given reports of power struggles among state leaders. The BJP leadership has opted not to announce a chief ministerial candidate, leaving the decision to the elected MLAs.
Former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is reportedly dissatisfied and actively seeking to be projected as the party's face. Shekhawat, a frontrunner for the CM position if the BJP succeeds, must navigate not only opposition from incumbent CM Ashok Gehlot but also internal party strife.
Party veteran Suryakanta Vyas, a six-time MLA, and former Shergarh MLA Babu Singh Rathore are reportedly at odds with Shekhawat, who won the Jodhpur Lok Sabha seat in 2019 by defeating Vaibhav Gehlot, the CM's son.
Vyas, affectionately known as 'Jiji,' an 85-year-old leader from the Pushkarna Brahmin community, is upset about rumors of being denied a ticket, for which she holds Shekhawat responsible, with the party's unofficial rule of not fielding candidates above 75 years considered a significant factor.
In Telangana, four MPs, including Union Minister and State Chief G K Reddy, are expected to enter the electoral fray.
The deployment of central leaders in Madhya Pradesh, seen as a precursor to similar strategies in other states, has surprised many individuals featured on the candidate list.
In Madhya Pradesh, two Union ministers, Narendra Singh Tomar and Faggan Singh Kulaste, will contest seats previously held by the Congress in 2018.
Three of the four other Lok Sabha MPs will compete in constituencies where the main opposition party emerged victorious in the last elections while Prahlad Singh Patel will contest from Narsinghpur where his brother is an MLA.
Tomar, a former state BJP chief, was appointed as the convenor of the party's election management committee in MP in July. He has served three terms as an MP, two terms as an MLA until 2008, and has been in the Lok Sabha since 2009.
Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel has been a five-term Lok Sabha MP but has never held the position of an MLA. Kulaste, a tribal leader, last served as an MLA in 1992 before being elected to the Lok Sabha six times and the Rajya Sabha once.
While these three names are frontrunners in the CM race, party sources have refuted reports suggesting that CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan will not contest the polls.
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