With the AAP deciding to contest all 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh, the state is likely to witness a three-cornered contest for the first time in Lok Sabha polls instead of bipolar fights seen in the past.
Earlier, the BSP and Congress(T), floated by senior Congress leader late Arjun Singh, tried in vain to emerge as a third alternative. BSP managed to show its strength in Lok Sabha seats bordering Uttar Pradesh with its candidates winning Satna (1996) and Rewa (1991, 1996 and 2009) constituencies, but otherwise the elections in Madhya Pradesh have always been a direct contest between the Congress and BJP, with Left parties and Independents having a minimal presence.
AAP's Madhya Pradesh unit's chief spokesman Akshay Hunka expressed confidence that the party will emerge as a "third alternative" in the state as people have given enough chances to both the BJP and Congress. "We have already announced seven candidates and shortly we will release the party list for other seats also. We will be contesting from all 29 seats in the state," Hunka told PTI.
The party has received a total of 600 nominations for the 29 seats, out of which it has shortlisted nearly 250-275 probables and forwarded it to the central leaders for approval, he said.
However, rubbishing AAP's prospects, senior BJP leader and state unit's former media in-charge Brajesh Lunawat said, "I don't think AAP is going to make any difference in the coming Lok Sabha polls. If at all it has any influence that too is confined to just two to three per cent of total votes in five-six seats." "The party may have some support in major cities like Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Khandwa and Mandsaur but the contest will be bipolar only and there is no scope for any triangular contest in the state," Lunawat said.
AAP has so far announced its candidates for seven Lok Sabha seats in the state. It has given ticket to Bhagawat Singh Armo from Vidisha, a seat currently represented by senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj.
Former defence personnel Abdul Nasir Hanfee will contest on AAP ticket from Jabalpur while from Khandwa the party has already announced the candidature of senior Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Alok Agrawal.
From neighbouring Khargone, the party has nominated another NBA leader Kailash Awasya and former police officer Khuman Singh Armo from Mandla. Besides, ex-independent MLA Paras Saklecha will contest from Mandsaur and social activist Aneeta Hindoliya from Ujjain. Even the Congress feels AAP has no grip in MP. "AAP has no existence and has nothing to highlight as achievements in the state. It is a regional party and will not emerge as a third alternative," state's Congress unit spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi said. "In comparison to AAP, Samajwadi Party and BSP are much better placed in the state," he said.
Congress has so far declared former MLA Satya Narayan Patel as its candidate from Indore. He has won the primaries (internal party poll) conducted on the formula of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.