The BJP has fielded 18 MPs, including four Union ministers, for the latest round of assembly polls so far — seven each in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and four in Chhattisgarh. Seventeen of them, including three Union ministers fielded in Madhya Pradesh, are Lok Sabha members and most of them have been fielded on relatively difficult assembly seats, where the party had lost in the last elections.
The party on Monday announced fresh lists of candidates for Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will contest from his traditional Budhni seat as the BJP announced the names of 57 more candidates for the assembly polls to be held on November 17. With this, the BJP has so far announced its candidates for 136 seats in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly.
The names of former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh and state BJP president Arun Sao figured in its latest list of candidates for the state, taking to 85 the number of seats in the 90-member assembly for which it has named candidates.
Three MPs, including Union Minister Renuka Singh, also featured in the second list of 64 candidates for Chhattisgarh.
The BJP has sent out a message about its determined efforts to put its best foot forward by fielding so many regional heavyweights, including Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Faggan Singh Kulaste, and Prahlad Singh Patel in Madhya Pradesh, a state where it is in power and is facing a keen challenge from the Congress.
Party sources said fielding seasoned leaders in the assembly polls also helps defuse factional feuds as they enjoy more acceptance. Such a move also raises the stakes for the satraps seeking key roles in government and organisation by throwing them the challenge of ensuring a good performance for the party in their seats and adjoining constituencies, they said.
Rajsamand MP Diya Kumari and Jaipur Rural MP Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore are among the BJP candidates from Rajasthan.
Ms Kumari will fight the elections from Jaipur’s Vidhyadhar Nagar constituency, Mr Rathore, a former Union minister and retired Army officer, has been fielded from Jhotwara, also in Jaipur district.
Vidhyadhar Nagar seat is currently held by BJP MLA Narpat Singh Rajvi, a five-time MLA and son-in-law of former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.
The remaining 40 constituencies for which the BJP announced its candidates are held by the ruling Congress and other parties.
Jhunjhunu MP Narendra Kumar will contest the elections from Mandawa, Alwar MP Baba Balaknath from Tijara, Ajmer MP Bhagirath Choudhary from Kishangarh, Jalore MP Devji Patel from Sanchore, and Meena will fight from the Sawai Madhopur constituency.
Announcing the election schedule at a press conference here, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar said single-phase assembly polls will be held in Madhya Pradesh on November 17, Rajasthan on November 23, Telangana on November 30 and Mizoram on November 7 while Chhattisgarh will go to the polls in two phases on November 7 (20 seats) and 17 (70 seats).
The BJP and the Congress will be engaged in a direct fight in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan while the two parties are also in contention for power in Telangana, where Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi is eyeing a third straight term.
The BJP is in power in Madhya Pradesh while the Congress is in power in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)