Cong tribal MLAs want to dispute Lok Sabha in MP, party is disapproving
BHOPAL: More than a dozen sitting Congress MLAs have approached
chief minister Kamal Nath with applications for tickets
to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. There are a total six
tribal reserved constituencies in the state including Ratlam, Dhar,
Betul, Mandla, Khargone and Shahdol. These legislators want
to contest from these seats, five of which is presently occupied by
BJP MPs. Congress lost Ratlam in 2014 but regained the seat in a
bypoll in November 2015.
Chief minister Kamal Nath who also holds the position of state PCC chief has ruled-out the possibility of fielding a sitting MLA. He said that party has taken the decision not to field any sitting MLA for Lok Sabha.
State Congress tribal cell president Ajay Shah was asked to speak to the MLAs who have become Lok Sabha tickets aspirants. Speaking to TOI Ajay Shah said, “There are 47 tribal reserved assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh. In 2013, Congress party had only 15 tribal MLAs which has in 2018 assembly elections risen to 31. After being elected legislators, all were aspiring to become ministers.”
There are four ministers in the Kamal Nath cabinet that belong to the tribal community including Bala Bachchan, Omkar Singh Markam, Umang Singhar and Surendra Singh Honey Baghel. When many ministerial hopefuls did not find place in the 28-member cabinet, they are now looking forward to contesting Lok Sabha and head towards New Delhi.
But the Congress’ situation is such in Madhya Pradesh that it cannot afford to field even some popular faces for Lok Sabha because the party in power has only 114 of its own MLAs in a house of 230, falling short of absolute majority by two seats. Chief minister Kamal Nath formed his government with the support of four independents, two BSP legislators and one Samajwadi party MLA.
The numbers in the state assembly are such that Congress cannot risk fielding sitting MLAs while the BJP which has 109 MLAs might field some senior former ministers only if its wants to change some sitting MPs. The rush for tickets from tribal reserved seats is so aggressive that 32 aspirants have submitted their applications for the Betul seat where BJP’s sitting MP Jyoti Dhurve is in a fake certificate controversy. The MP’s tribal certificate has been annulled by a scrutiny committee and the state tribal welfare department.