Pressure on Scindia to stand from Indore

Last Updated 27 March 2019, 20:26 IST

As suspense over the candidacy of Sumitra Mahajan from Indore persists, the pressure within the Congress is building on Jyotiraditya Scindia. He is being asked to take on the BJP, in a seat which the Lok Sabha speaker has been winning since 1989.

After senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh accepted the offer to contest from the “difficult” Bhopal seat, voices are in the Congress asking for Scindia to demonstrate similar courage in “another difficult seat” are only getting louder.

State PWD minister and Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s confidante Sajjan Singh Verma on Wednesday expressed the desire that Scindia should contest from Indore. Earlier, another senior leader and former leader of opposition, Ajay Singh had said that big leader from Gwalior region should opt for Indore like Digvijay has opted for Bhopal.

Chief Minister Kamal Nath was the first leader to bat for senior party leaders contesting from seats where the Congress has not won in the past 30 years.

Digvijay Singh has obliged the CM but Scindia is dithering. The scion of the erstwhile Gwalior state has already started campaign in his traditional Guna-Shivpuri seat.

His wife Priyadarshani Raje is also being talked about as a probable candidate from either Guna or Gwalior. Both the seats are relatively easy for Scindias to win, given their standing in the region.

But a section of the Congress feels that it is an opportune time for the party to wrest Indore from the BJP, if Scindia agrees to contest from the seat.

Indore, like Gwalior, has a sizeable population of Marathi –speaking voters. The capital of the erstwhile Hoklar state also has a history of considerable affection for the Scindia family.

Speculation is also rife that BJP might deny the ticket to 75-year old Mahajan on the grounds of her age, as it has to other veterans including LK Advani, Dr MM Joshi, Kalraj Mishra and Karia Munda.

Sumitra Mahajan herself fuelled speculation on Tuesday, saying either she will contest from Indore or Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, she later dubbed the remark as a joke.

(Published 27 March 2019, 19:09 IST)

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