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Madhya Pradesh polls: Under pressure, Congress tweaks candidates' list for a second time

New Delhi: Protests by party workers in Madhya Pradesh have prompted the Congress to tweak its candidates’ list for a second time by choosing new candidates, including two sitting MLAs who were initially dropped, in four seats.

The Congress announced the changes on Wednesday morning, as the denial of tickets to certain aspirants sparked protests. The party changed candidates for the Sumaoli, Pipariya, Badnagar and Jaora seats.

In the second list, it changed three candidates. With this, it has changed seven candidates, whose names were announced initially.

Sitting MLAs Ajab Singh Kushwaha returned to fight from Sumawali replacing Kuldeep Sikarwar while Badnagar MLA Murli Morwal replaced Rajendra Singh Solanki, who had initially bagged the ticket.

Kushwaha was denied a ticket despite winning the bypoll after the collapse of the Kamal Nath government in 2020. He took out a protest rally after Sikarwar, who lost the 2018 polls, was chosen in his place.

Morwal, who claimed that the BJP had offered him money to switch sides, too hit the streets with his supporters burning tyres in front of state party chief Kamal Nath’s bungalow in Bhopal.

In Pipariya, the party replaced Guru Charan Khare with Virendra Belvanshi while in Jaora, Himmat Shrimal was replaced by Virendra Singh Solanki.

With this, 95 sitting MLAs have managed to secure a ticket for a re-contest, while 14 have been benched.

The Congress had also announced Manoj Malve as the candidate for the Amla seat though Deputy Collector Nisha Bangre, whose resignation from service was not accepted till the party announced its nominee, was also in the race.

Bangre’s resignation was accepted by the BJP government soon after the Congress announced Malve as the candidate. It is to be seen whether the Congress will now have a rethink on the seat and replace Malve with Bangre. Bangre has made it clear that she will file her nomination and contest the elections even if the Congress does not field her.

(Published 25 October 2023, 14:14 IST)

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