Indore: BJP leader and 27-year-old engineer Shivram Kannauj is set to make his assembly poll debut in Madhya Pradesh from Dhar district’s Manawar seat, reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates, where he is pitted against sitting Congress MLA Dr Hiralal Alawa.
However, former minister Ranjana Baghel’s rebellious attitude after denial of ticket by the BJP has increased the ruling party’s trouble in this seat. But Kannauj is hopeful that Baghel would support him in the November 17 state polls.
Alawa (41), the Congress candidate from Manawar and national patron of tribal outfit Jay Adiwasi Yuva Shakti (JAYS), entered electoral politics in the 2018 assembly polls after quitting his job as an assistant professor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.
Kannauj completed his B.Tech (electricals) from an institute in Bhopal.
His father Gopal Kannauj was a BJP leader who died in an accident during a thunderstorm in 2021.
Shivram Kannauj, who entered politics after his father’s death, was elected as member of the Dhar zila panchayat in 2022. He is now contesting his first assembly election.
The Manawar assembly constituency has around 2.43 lakh voters and around 60 per cent of them belong to the tribal community.
Talking to PTI, Shivram Kannauj said, ‘Many tribals from Manawar region have to migrate to Gujarat and other states for employment. I will ensure training of tribals in entrepreneurship and skill development under government schemes so that they can stand on their feet in their native region.’
He claimed that Congress MLA Alawa has failed to fulfil the promises of providing livelihood to tribals and getting back their lands acquired for a cement plant.
‘Moreover, after winning the elections, he did not come back to the tribals. People are angry with him. This time the tribal community will not fall into his trap,” the BJP candidate said.
On the other hand, Alawa claimed the BJP government in the state has not done anything for tribals, farmers and unemployed people.
‘This government is filling up many posts through outsourcing, which is a direct attack on the existing reservation system,” he alleged.
Alawa said he has this time promised voters to get Manawar the status of a district, construction of a bypass road in the area and start better centres of education.
In the 2018 assembly polls, Alawa defeated BJP candidate and former minister Ranjana Baghel by 39,501 votes.
In the upcoming assembly elections, BJP candidate Shivram Kannauj is facing a challenge from his own camp as Baghel has been adopting a rebellious attitude after the denial of ticket.
According to political experts, if Baghel contests as an independent candidate from Manawar seat, then the BJP may suffer a big electoral loss.
However, Kannauj said, ‘Baghel is a senior leader of the BJP. I am confident that I will get her full support in the elections.’
Elections for the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly will be held on November 17 and votes will be counted on December 3.
(Published 26 October 2023, 06:20 IST)