Three former ministers are among the 53 leaders, who have been expelled from the party by the BJP, for six years for alleged anti-party activities, in Madhya Pradesh as the state heads to elections on November 28. Among the three former ministers are Sartaj Singh, Ramkrishna Kusmaria and KL Agrawal, who defied party diktat and refused to withdraw nominations. They will contest as Independent candidates now.
While former union minister Sartaj Singh will take on sitting BJP lawmaker and finance minister Jayant Malaiya from Damoh, Ramkrishna Kusmaria will contest from Patharia and KL Agrawal from Bamori.
BJP vice president Prabhat Jha flew to Damoh to convince Mr Kusmaria, a heavyweight from Bundelkhand, popularly called Babbaji, who even refused to meet him.
"The party gave them everything. We tried hard to convince them but they refused. The party has shown that it can act tough when needed. Their fight will not make any difference, the BJP is going to form the government again," said senior state BJP leader Vijesh Lunawat.
The Congress party on the other has done better than the BJP in containing rebels in Madhya Pradesh. The party has been able to convince 35 dissidents to pull out. Senior Congress leaders managed to convince several, to withdraw nominations but few well-known names like former lawmaker from Jhabua, Xavier Meda had to be expelled for six years for anti-party activities. He is contesting the elections from Jhabua as an Independent against Vikrant Bhuria, son of lawmaker Kantilal Bhuria.
Two Congress lawmakers, Dinesh Ahirwar and Pratap Singh Uike, who have not been given tickets have also rebelled against the party and are fighting the polls as Independents. Nitin Chaturvedi, son of party veteran Satyvrat Chaturvedi, who has also not been given a ticket has switched sides and is contesting on a Samajwadi Party ticket from Rajanagar.
Following the withdrawal of nominations and rejections; 2,932 candidates are finally in the fray for the 230 constituencies in Madhya Pradesh. 578 nominations were rejected and 538 candidates have withdrawn their nominations, the Election Commission has said.
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