Madhya Pradesh’s capital Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency is one of the strongest seat for the BJP in the entire country, as the party candidates are winning with stunning majorities for the last three decades. Any BJP leader may find it a reward if the party offers this seat. Practically, party veteran L K Advani insisted to contest from here in 2014. But he was persuaded by confirm to Gandhinagar by party’s PM candidate Narendra Modi, at that time.
But now the BJP finding it difficult to locate a suitable candidate for this seat. After Congress decided to field its veteran leader and former chief minister Digvijay Singh, who has already started his campaign, BJP leadership seems to be in defensive. It is making futile attempts to convince its senior leaders like former chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Uma Bharat and Babulal Gaur, besides militant Hindutva face Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and sitting MP Alok Sanjar.
Sensing BJP’s problems in finding out a candidate, Chief Minister Kamal Nath has advised the BJP to release an advertisement in media for a suitable candidate to take on Digvijay Singh from Bhopal seat. Nath’s stinging sarcasm follows media reports that half a dozen names as probable BJP candidates for the state capital are afloat.
BJP leadership seems to be concluded that Shivraj Singh Chouhan will be a suitable candidate to face Digvijay Singh. But, Chouhan seems to be very angry with the party leadership for denying him Leader of Opposition status, though after 15-year-rule he succeeded in bringing BJP almost close to magic figure.
He has expressed his discontent stating that it will not be proper on his part to contest in Lok Sabha polls, only after four months of Assembly polls. However, in private conversations he is believed to be stating that he or his wife Sadhana Singh will contest if `safe’ seats like Vidisha, but not Bhopal.
The Congress had won the Bhopal seat last time in 1989. Bhopal is considered one of the strongest BJP bastions. Yet, the BJP seems to be jittery about declaring its candidate. It doesn’t want to risk losing the seat by fielding lightweight local candidates. But, heavyweight candidates could pose a grave risk of sabotage.