Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh is all set to contest from Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, which has been a BJP bastion since 1989. This was confirmed by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Pradesh Congress Committee chief Kamal Nath. This seat goes to poll in the sixth phace, on May 12.
Chief Minister said that though Digivjay Singh is interested to contest form his home constituency Rajgarh, he himself requested him to contest from any of three tough seats in the state, Bhopal, Indore or Jabalpur, known as strong holds for BJP.
“Digvijaya took his time and thought over my request, but later asked me, where should he contest from. I told him that he should contest from Bhopal, which he has agreed to,” said Nath.
The Bhopal seat, on the other hand, has been a BJP bastion since 1989 and the notable winners from the seat, include Sushil Chandra Verma (1989, 1991, 1996 and 1998) former chief ministers Uma Bharti (1999) and Kailash Joshi (2004 and 2009).
However, the same seat was won by Congress stalwart Shankar Dayal Sharma (who became India’s Ninth President in 1992) in 1971 and 1980. KN Pradhan was the last Congressman to win the seat in 1984.
Presently, out of the eight assembly segments of Bhopal and Sehore district that form Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, five are represented by BJP legislators, while three were won by Congress, which include old Digvijaya Singh’s confidants, PC Sharma and Arif Aqeel (both cabinet ministers in Kamal Nath government).
Aged 72, Singh, who was the Chief Minister from 1993 to 2003 had reportedly taken self-imposed exile from electoral politics after the Congress lost the 2003 assembly polls in MP to Uma Bharti-led BJP.
Singh has contested three Lok Sabha polls so far from Rajgarh seat of Central MP, winning in 1984 and 1991, but losing to BJP’s Pyarelal Khandelwal in 1989. His brother Laxman Singh too has represented Rajgarh seat four times, including 2004 as a BJP MP. The Rajgarh seat houses Singh family’s pocket-borough, the Raghogarh assembly seat, which is presently represented by Singh’s MP minister son Jaivardhan Singh.