Bhopal: With the BJP dilly-dallying on declaring the candidates for the party's strongholds like Bhopal, Indore and Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, speculations are rife over Prime Minister Narendra Modi contesting from one of the constituencies in the central India state.
Adding to the rumours are the words of former Madhya Pradesh minister and two-time Vidisha member of Parliament Raghavji Bhai, who urged Modi to contest from Vidisha.
“I urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji to contest from Vidisha seat. This will help the party revive its fortunes in three states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh,” Raghavji Bhai told Onmanorama on Thursday.
The first election after Vidisha LS constituency was formed was won by Bharatiya Jan Sangh (now Bharatiya Janata Party) in 1967. And, in the past 16 general elections, the BJP lost the seat only two terms in 1980-84 and 1984-89.
In 1989 general elections, Raghavji managed to wrest the seat from two-term Congress MP Pratap Bhanu Sharma.
However, ahead of the 1991 polls, interesting turn of events unfolded in Vidisha. “In 1991 general elections, the party had put faith in me. However, on the last day of the filling of nomination papers, I have to withdrew when former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee came to Vidisha to submit his nomination papers,” the two time MP said.
“Atalji stayed five days in Vidisha and addressed around 25 public meetings during the entire campaigning,” he added.
The former PM had won from both Lucknow and Vidisha, the latter by over one lakh votes. “He, however, vacated Vidisha seat a few weeks later, but remained connected to me, often inquiring about the well-being of Vidisha,” said Raghavji.
Since then, this high profile constituency has been represented by the BJP stalwarts.
After former Vajpayee, the seat was uninterruptedly represented by former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for five times, till he became chief minister in 2005.
For the last two terms the seat is represented by Union minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj. This time Sushma Swaraj is not contesting the elections due to health reasons.
In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the total turnout of voters was 65.71% in Vidisha. BJP candidate has won by a margin of 4 lakh votes.
In the 2018 assembly elections, Vidisha recorded a voter turnout of 74.02%.
According to the voting pattern witnessed in the eight assembly segments of the Lok Sabha seat, the BJP has won six seats while the Congress got two Assembly seats. The eight assembly segments are - Bhojpur, Sanchi (SC), Silwani, Vidisha, Basoda, Budhni, Ichhawar and Khategaon spread across four districts of Raisen, Sehore, Dewas and Vidisha.
The BJP’s local unit is pinning its hopes on a big victory, provided the party announces the name of the candidate early.
The Congress party accepts Vidisha to be one of the toughest seats. Sometime back, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath had asked senior Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief Minister Digvijaya Singh to pick a seat where the Congress has not won for three decades or more like Bhopal, Indore or Vidisha. Singh accepted the challenge and decided to contest from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat.
The party hasn’t won Bhopal Lok Sabha seat since 1989, when retired chief secretary Susheel Chandra Verma defeated Congress candidate and cricket legend Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi by over 80,000 votes.
The high-profile Vidisha constituency will go to polls on May 12 where the voters are ready to once again welcome party stalwarts.