Madhya Pradesh elections: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh appears to be heading towards a big showdown with its senior leader and former Chief Minister Babulal Gaur sending an ultimatum to the party high command. Speaking to The Indian Express, Gaur said that will contest as an independent candidate if the party denies him the opportunity to fight from his stronghold of Govindpura.
The development comes days after the ruling BJP released its first list of nominees comprising 177 names. The party has denied tickets to many incumbent MLAs including three ministers. The three ministers who have been excluded are Maya Singh (Urban Development), Gauri Shankar Shejwar (Forest) and Harsh Singh (Water Resources).
Also Read: Madhya Pradesh Assembly Elections 2018: BJP releases first list of 177 candidates
The IE report said that Gaur, 88, is keen on contesting the elections from Govindpura constituency in Bhopal but is ready to pave the way for his daughter-in-law Krishna Gaur.
“Both I and Krishnaji will contest as Independents from different seats if neither of us is fielded from Govindpura,” the octogenarian leader told the daily.
Interestingly, Gaur, a 10-time MLA, had first contested the elections as an independent candidate in 1974. In 1980, he contested from Govindpura constituency and went on to win eight consecutive elections from here. He had served as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh between August 23, 2004 and November 29, 2005.
“Like bees get attracted to flowers, they are attracted to Govindpura,” Gaur said in a veiled attack on party colleagues who have sought a ticket from this constituency.
Several people are in the race to contest elections on a BJP ticket from here. Those in the race include Mayor Alok Sharma and party general secretary VD Sharma. Many of the contenders have cited Gaur’s age and opposed the candidature of his daughter-in-law on grounds that it will weaken the party.
With reports of a possible revolt, the Congress has reached out to Gaur. Besides making attempts to woo Gaur and Krishna on the phone, the party also sent an emissary to their residence. Gaur confirmed that Congress state unit’s president Kamal Nath and other leaders spoke to him over the phone.
“I am only asking from the BJP what’s my right,” Gaur said, adding that he won’t join the opposition ranks but was not sure about his daughter-in-law.
Gaur’s daughter-in-law Krishna who had served as the Mayor of Bhopal said that in case the party refuses to give her ticket, she will quit the party and contest elections as an independent candidate.
The BJP has offered Bhopal (North) constituency to Krishna. The seat is being currently held by the state’s only Muslim MLA Arif Aqueel, a Congressman. But Krishna, like many BJP leaders, is not keen on contesting election from here.
Former Forest minister Sartaj Singh has also dropped hints that he may contest as an independent candidate if denied ticket by the party from Seoni Malwa.
Last week, the BJP had released the first list comprising 177 names. The party has denied tickets to more than 30 MLAs that has triggered protests from the supporters of the incumbent ones in their respective constituencies. On Saturday, supporters of Baisahad Yadav had created a ruckus at the party office in Bhopal to protest against the denial of ticket to him. Yadav had won in a by-election.
Madhya Pradesh will go to polls in a single phase on November 28. Results will be declared on December 11.