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BJP Drops Pragya Thakur, Fields Shivraj From Vidisha, Scindia From Guna In 1st List Of Candidates For MP

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has revealed its first list of 24 candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh, featuring prominent names such as former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. The party has also made significant changes by replacing Bhopal MP Pragya Singh Thakur with Alok Sharma, a former mayor. The party’s announcement, made on Saturday, included a total of 195 candidates.

Chouhan is set to return to Lok Sabha polls after nearly two decades, and will contest his sixth Parliamentary election from Vidisha, a seat that has been held by BJP stalwarts like late Atal Bihari Vajpayee (in 1991), Sushma Swaraj (in 2009 and 2014) and newspaper publisher Ramnath Goenka (in 1971).

There was a lot of speculation about Chhindwara, with no candidate declared yet. Amidst rumours of Congress heavyweights Kamal Nath and his son defecting, the Naths earlier this week denied any such reports.

The BJP has repeated 13 sitting MPs in its list while introducing new faces for 11 seats, including Morena, Gwalior, and Sagar.

The BJP’s dominance in Madhya Pradesh, having won 28 out of 29 Lok Sabha seats in 2019, sets the stage for an interesting electoral contest as the party prepares its list for the upcoming polls.

Sitting MP Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in Malegaon blast case, was dropped from Bhopal. Thakur, known for her controversial statements, defeated Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh in the 2019 elections by a margin of 3.65 lakh votes.

Candidates for five seats – Indore, Chhindwara, Balaghat, Ujjain and Dhar – are yet to be announced. Shivraj Singh Chouhan led the BJP to victory in the last year’s Madhya Pradesh assembly elections, but was replaced by Mohan Yadav as CM.

Union ministers Faggan Singh Kulaste and Virendra Singh Khatik were fielded from their current constituencies. The seats where new candidates were announced are Morena, Gwalior, Sagar, Bhopal, Damoh, Sidhi, Jabalpur, Hoshangabad, Ratlam, Vidisha and Guna.

The seats where sitting MPs were given another chance include Bhind (Sandhya Rai), Tikamgarh (Union Minister Virendra Kumar), Khajuraho (state BJP president V D Sharma), Satna (Ganesh Singh), Rewa (Janardan Mishra), Shahdol (Himadri Singh), Mandla (union minister Faggan Singh Kulaste), Rajgarh (Rodmal Nagar), Dewas (Mahendra Singh Solanki), Mandsaur (Sudhir Gupta), Khargone (Gajendra Patel), Khandwa (Gyaneshwar Patil) and Betul (Durgadas Uikey).

In November 2023 assembly elections, the BJP had fielded seven MPs including union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Prahlad Patel.

After winning elections, Tomar, MP from Morena, became Speaker of the assembly, while Patel, MP from Damoh, became the minister in the state cabinet.

The MPs of Jabalpur (Rakesh Singh), Hoshangabad (Rao Uday Pratap Singh) and Sidhi (Riti Pathak) also won assembly elections, hence, new candidates were fielded from these seats. Rakesh Singh and Rao Uday Pratap Singh are now ministers in the state cabinet.

MPs from Gwalior (Vivek Shejwalkar), Sagar (Rajbahadur Singh), Bhopal (Pragya Singh Thakur), Ratlam (Guman Singh Damor), Vidisha (Ramakant Bhargava) and Guna (KP Singh Yadav) did not figure in the list.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, 53, was fielded from Guna Lok Sabha seat, where he, as a Congress candidate, had lost to the BJP’s K P Singh Yadav in 2019. Scindia had represented this seat four times, and is currently a Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, 64, represented Vidisha five times before becoming chief minister in November 2005. He is currently MLA from Budhni assembly segment which falls under the Vidisha Lok Sabha seat.

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