A battle to save political strongholds for Scindia, Digvijaya and Kamal Nath

March 27, 2024
March 27, 2024IANS - Bhopal

Amid the electoral battle between the ruling BJP and the Congress, some seasoned politicians in Madhya Pradesh will also be fighting to save their own bastions and pocket boroughs.

Prominent among these political stalwarts are Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scinida and two former chief ministers, Congress veterans Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath.

A member of the erstwhile royal Scindia family of Gwalior, Jyotiraditya Scindia contested and won the first Lok Sabha (bypoll) election after his father and Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia, a Lok Sabha MP from Guna, died in a plane crash in 2001.

Jyotiraditya Scindia (53) was re-elected as MP from his family’s pocket borough Guna for the next three consecutive terms – 2004, 2009 and 2014.

In fact, Guna was one of the two Lok Sabha seats that the Congress managed to win despite a massive wave in favour of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in 2014.

However, Jyotiraditya Scindia lost the election from Guna against the BJP’s KP Yadav in 2019. One year later, Jyotiraditya Scindia along with 22 Congress MLAs had shifted into the BJP, resulting in the end of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in March 2020.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is a Rajya Sabha MP, is contesting his sixth Lok Sabha election, but the first on the BJP’s symbol.

Spanning eight Assembly seats of the three districts of Guna, Shivpuri and part of Ashok Nagar, most of the time, this particular seat was represented by the members of the Scindia family.

Local people said the seasoned politician is taking this election as a matter of prestige and is determined to get his pocket borough back.

Congress veteran and former Chief Minister, Digvijaya Singh is contesting the Lok Sabha election from his home turf Rajgarh.

Interestingly, the Rajgarh parliamentary constituency covers two Assembly segments – Raghogarh and Chachoura of Guna District and one Assembly seat of Agar-Malwa (Susner) along with five Assembly segments of Rajgarh District.

Veteran Rajya Sabha MP, Digvijaya Singh was elected as a Lok Sabha MP twice from Rajgarh, in 1984 and then again in 1991. In 1993, he became the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and remained on the post until 2003.

Digvijaya Singh’s younger brother Laxman Singh represented this particular Lok Sabha constituency five times, including one term on the BJP’s symbol.

As the Congress could win just one Lok Sabha seat in the previous election, and Digvijaya Singh had also lost against BJP’s Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal in 2019, the grand old party, which is striving hard to find its lost ground in Madhya Pradesh, has fielded the former CM from his home district Rajgarh this time.

The Congress had won the last Lok Sabha election from Rajgarh in 2009, while the BJP’s Rodmal Nagar won two previous elections in 2014 and 2019.

Another Congress veteran Kamal Nath is making all efforts to retain his bastion Chhindwara, the only parliamentary constituency the BJP lost in the previous general election.

Though, ex-CM Kamal Nath is not the candidate from Chhindwara Lok Sabha seat, he is leading the campaign for his son and sitting MP, Nakul Nath.

Senior leader Kamal Nath had won nine Lok Sabha elections from Chhindwara, and he would be fighting to save his stronghold.