Direct fight between BJP, Congress in Madhya Pradesh; rebel challenge makes it tough for BJP

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Updated: April 28, 2019 12:31 AM

Madhya Pradesh Election 2019: BJP is facing challenge of rebel candidates in several seats going to poll in the first phase of Lok Sabha election in the state.

BJP, Congress, Kamal Nath, Lok Sabha Election, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh Election ScheduleMadhay Pradesh Election 2019: BJP, Congress are locked in a direct contest.

Madhya Pradesh Election 2019: After losing assembly election to the Congress with a narrow margin, the BJP is going all out to retain the maximum number of Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh. The first phase of polling will take place in the state on Monday in a direct fight between the BJP and its arch rival the Congress. While BJP is banking on the door to door campaigning done by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s dedicated cadre and charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress is banking on the party president Rahul Gandhi’s appeal and ground work done by chief minister Kamal Nath.

This election is crucial for the new chief minister Kamal Nath as his son is contesting from Chhindwada Lok Sabha seat that is going to poll on April 29. Chief minister Kamal Nath will also face the voters’ test the same day as he is contesting assembly by-election from Chhindwada Vidhan Sabha constituency. Voting for both father-son duo will take place on Monday.

BJP has fielded Nathan Shah Kavreti against Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath in Chhindwada. BJP’s ideological fountainhead Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh has mobilised its cadre in the seat to ensure defeat the Congress party candidate in a battle of prestige.

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Most of the seats going to poll in first phase in Madhya Pradesh fall in the state’s coal belt like Sidhi, Shahdol, Mandla, Balaghat and Jabalpur. Kamal Nath’s home district Chhindwada also falls in the coal belt.

The issue of resuming coal production in inoperative mines is important election issue in the area. According to reports, more than 15 coal mines have been shut in the region in recent years. And the number of coal miners has come down from 30,000 to just 6,000 over the last several years.

Regaining the ground lost by the BJP in the state is a challenge for RSS leadership as it was due to RSS support, the BJP was able to rule the state for three consecutive terms.

However, the party is facing a tough challenge unlike 2014 Lok Sabha election when the party had won 27 of total 29 seats in the state.

READ ALSO: War of Attrition: Can Mamata Banejree hold her own against challenge from BJP, Modi

Congress has fielded Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha from Jabalpur against sitting BJP member Rakesh Singh. Rakesh Singh is facing five year long anti-incumbency and banking on the support for Prime Minister Modi to retain the seat.

BJP has also expressed confidence in sitting Lok Sabha member Reeti Singh for Sidhi Lok Sabha seat. However, Reeti Singh is facing a tough opponent as the Congress has fielded Ajay Singh, son of former chief minister Arjun Singh.

The BJP is facing challenge of rebel candidates in Shahdol and Balaghat Lok Sabha seats. The party denied tickets to sitting member Gyan Singh from Shahdol and Bodh Singh Bhagat from Balaghat. While Gyan Singh is contesting election from Shahdol as an independent candidate, Bodh Singh Bhagat has also jumped in the fray from Balaghat Lok Sabha seat as an independent.

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