The BJP’s decision to field seven Members of Parliament as candidates in the Rajasthan assembly elections has sparked protests from those who were overlooked for these tickets, including some loyalists of former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia.
Meanwhile, in Madhya Pradesh, political observers are taken aback by the BJP’s choice to re-nominate 24 ministers, despite the talk of anti-incumbency against the leaders of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.
The Congress party’s candidate list for both states is still awaited, with the party planning to declare tickets starting from October 15, during the auspicious Navratra period.
In Rajasthan, the BJP faces the challenge of appeasing disgruntled members, particularly some who have been closely associated with Vasundhara Raje. This includes former minister and two-time MLA Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, who has been denied a ticket from Jhotwara, and three-time sitting MLA Narpat Singh Rajvi, who did not receive a ticket from Vidhyadhar Nagar.
For the Jhotwara constituency, the BJP has nominated Lok Sabha MP Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, while in Vidhyadhar Nagar, MP Diya Kumari has been selected as the candidate. Rajvi and Shekhawat, known Raje loyalists, are raising questions about these choices. Rajvi, in particular, questions why the BJP has chosen Diya Kumari, whose “family had kneeled before the Mughals,” and Shekhawat is labeling Rathore as an “outsider.”
Other candidates who were denied tickets in favor of MPs, like Baba Balaknath, Kirodi Lal Meena, Bhagirath Choudhary, and Devi Patel, are also expressing their discontent. The BJP argues that these candidates, including Shekhawat and Rajvi, had slim chances of winning in their respective constituencies, which is why MPs were chosen to put up a stronger contest.
The BJP has introduced some surprises, including eight candidates who ran as independents in the previous elections and secured a considerable number of votes, even though they lost. These independent candidates are now seen as the BJP’s best chance against the Congress nominees. Another unexpected choice is Vijay Bhainsla, son of Kirori Lal Bhainsla, a prominent face in the Gujjar reservation movement. Vijay Bhainsla has been nominated in place of Rajendra Gujjar.
In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP’s decision to field 24 ministers in the election has surprised some, as there were earlier speculations that the party might drop several cabinet members due to anti-incumbency against Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s government. Nonetheless, most of the senior ministers have been retained, although the fate of eight other ministers from Shivraj’s cabinet is yet to be announced. All loyalist ministers of Jyotiraditya Scindia have been given tickets, raising speculation that Scindia may also contest the elections from the Shivpuri constituency, left vacant by his aunt Yashodhara Raje Scindia. The BJP had already nominated seven MPs for the Madhya Pradesh elections in the initial list declared last month.