New Delhi, Apr 12 : Amidst speculation that BJP leader Uma Bharti may be fielded from Bhopal to take on former Congress Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh, the party is in a fix on finding appropriate candidates not just for Bhopal, but for Indore and Vidisha as well.
Indore seat has been vacated by former Lok Sabha Speaker and sitting MP Sumitra Mahajan while Vidisha has been given up by Union External Affairs Minister and sitting MP Sushma Swaraj.
Ms. Mahajan had won from Indore eight times in a row since 1989, whereas Ms. Swaraj held Vidisha for two consecutive terms.
While Ms. Mahajan withdrew from the race after her name was missing from the first two lists of candidates from Madhya Pradesh, Ms. Swaraj had declared that she will not contest 2019 general election on health grounds.
Bhopal, Indore and Vidisha are traditional strongholds of BJP, which, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath is striving to breach in this election and BJP is desperate to hold on to.
The BJP has not declared its candidates for the three crucial seats waiting for Congress to take the lead.
Bhopal is a stronghold of the BJP and the party has held the seat since 1989. Ms. Bharti herself had defeated Suresh Pachauri in Bhopal in 1999 and is familiar with the place. She is therefore considered a strong contender despite the fact that Mr. Singh has had an early start in campaigning.
Ms. Bharti, who was in Delhi on Friday and is normally quite active on twitter, chose to maintain silence on the rumour.
Sources close to her, however, told UNI that she had already declared that when she contests, it will be from Jhansi, a seat she held in the previous Lok Sabha.
Following her announcement that she will not contest 2019 Lok Sabha election to devote herself for cleansing of river Ganges, party chief Amit Shah appointed her National Vice-President.
The BJP has already announced the name of Anurag Sharma, son of former BJP MP Vishwanath Sharma from Jhansi, prompting Ms. Bharti to tweet that she will canvass for former on April 13 and 14.
Initially the name of Union Parliamentary Affairs and Rural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was doing the rounds for Bhopal but his candidature has now been announced from Morena where he replaces sitting MP Anup Mishra.
Mr Tomar had won from Morena in 2009. The seat was won four times by Shivraj Singh Chouhan from 1991 to 2006.
For Indore, the name of former Indore Mayor and MLA Malini Goud was doing the rounds, but after withdrawal of Ms. Mahajan from the race, there is a question mark on the vote of the sizeable Maharashtrian community which is upset.
In a bid to wrest Indore from the BJP, the Congress on the other hand, toyed with the idea of fielding Jyotiraditya Scindia but local papers in Guna have reported that their MP will stay on familiar ground.
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was hoping for a ticket for his wife from Vidisha, but that did not work out. He himself had represented the constituency in Parliament for five terms from 1991 to 2006.
The seven phases of the 17th Lok Sabha elections in the country are commenced on April 11 and will go on till May 19. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.