Bhopal, Mar 20: The Congress is seeking a suitable candidate for Bhopal parliamentary constituency as the party leaves no stone unturned in its endeavour to breach the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) citadel where victory has eluded the Congress for three long decades.
This is the state’s most discussed and high-profile voting area. Since Madhya Pradesh’s formation, two ladies – Mrs Maimoona Sultan (Cong) and Ms Uma Bharati (BJP) – were among the parliamentarians elected from here. It was also – for two terms – the constituency of Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma (Cong) who went on to assume the mantle of First Citizen. The area is presently represented by low-profile Alok Sanjar who vanquished Mr PC Sharma (Cong) by a whopping margin of approximately 3.5 lakh in 2014 when he was the compromise candidate. Three months back, Mr Sharma emerged victorious from Bhopal Dakshina-Paschim Assembly segment and is Public Relations Minister in the Kamal Nath dispensation.
As the Congress came to power in the state after a 15-year-long interval, the Chief Minister is desirous of successfully unfurling the victory banner over as many as saffron strongholds as possible and that is precisely why the party’s state organisation is making efforts to field erstwhile chief minister Digvijaya Singh from here. Discussion is rife that he has been told to either try his fortune from Indore or the state capital though his preference is his traditional bastion Rajgarh.
“Mr Singh was asked to consider contesting from any of a few constituencies where the Congress has not experienced triumph in three to three-and-a-half decades,” Mr Nath told the press in Chhindwara on Saturday.
Party sources said that the strategy is to win at least 20 of the state’s 29 seats and the blueprint is being keenly watched by the Chief Minister who scripted his party’s victory in the Vidhan Sabha polls. The saffron camp hopes that its nominee shall romp home for the ninth consecutive time.
Turning the pages of Bhopal’s electoral history reveals that Mrs Sultan won in 1957 and 1962; Mr JR Joshi (Bharatiya Jana Sangh) 1967; Dr Sharma 1971; Mr Arif Baig (Janata Party) 1977; Dr Sharma 1980; Mr KN Pradhan (Cong) 1984; Dr Sushil Chandra Varma (BJP) 1989, 1991, 1996 and 1998; Ms Bharati 1999 and Mr Kailash Joshi (BJP) 2004 and 2009.
The constituency comprises eight Assembly segments; five of which are BJP-controlled and the remainder held by the Congress. (UNI)