Bhopal, Nov 19 (IANS) The Congress has fielded at least eight candidates who have switched over from the ruling BJP ahead of the assembly elections to secure their own political future. Three of them made a ‘ghar-wapsi’ as they had joined the saffron party in support of Jyotiraditya Scindia in March 2020.
Most of these turncoats have a strong base in politics and winnability, which was perhaps the main reason Pradesh Congress Committee chief Kamal Nath, who selected the candidates himself, made them the party’s candidates.
Former BJP minister Deepak Joshi joined the Congress in May this year and he is contesting the election from his home turf Khategon in Dewas district. Joshi’s shifting to the Congress was the first major setback for the BJP because he is the son of former Chief Minister Kailash Joshi.
Joshi (60), who won three Assembly polls from Bagli (2003, 2008) and Hathpiplia (2013), also served as a minister of technical education and skills development, and of school education in Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s cabinet. His father, Kailash Joshi, was the ninth Chief Minister (June 24, 1977 to January 18, 1978) of Madhya Pradesh when he was a member of the Janata Party.
Rao Yadvendra Singh Yadav, who is the Congress candidate from the Mungavali assembly seat, is the son of three-time BJP MLA Rao Deshraj Singh Yadav. Like the Joshi family, Deshraj has been associated with the Jan Sangh. He is contesting the election against the BJP’s Brijendra Singh Yadav.
Vaidyanath Yadav, a Scindia loyalist who had switched over to the BJP in March 2020, made his ‘ghar-wapsi’ ahead of the election. He was re-inducted into the Congress due to Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh in a bid to dent Scindia and also to field a strong candidate against the BJP’s Mahendra Yadav who is also considered close to Scindia.
Another Scindia loyalist, who made a ‘ghar-wapsi’ and is contesting the election on a Congress’ ticket, is Neeraj Sharma. The Congress has fielded him against state minister Govind Singh Rajput from Surkhi assembly seat in Sagar district.
Former BJP MP Bodh Singh Bhagat, a prominent political face in Balaghat district, has left the saffron party and is contesting the election on a Congress ticket from Katangi.
The Congress has fielded former BJP MLA Girija Shankar Sharma from Hoshangabad against his brother and three-time MLA Sitasharan Sharma. As the Sharma family has won this seat for the last three decades, his candidature from the Congress has made the contest interesting.
Former BJP MLA Abhay Mishra is contesting on a Congress ticket from Semaria seat of Rewa. Mishra and his wife Neelam Mishra together have won two assembly elections from this particular seat in 2008 and 2013.
The BJP has fielded only one candidate – Sidharth Tiwari, who is from an old Congress family. He is the grandson of former Assembly Speaker Sriniwas Tiwari from Rewa’s Teonthar seat, and his position is said to be strong due to being a Brahmin face. His father Sundarlal Tiwari was also a former Lok Sabha MP. Due to his family background, Sidharth’s position is said to be quite strong.