BJP's hope rests on a turncoat
Shahdol Lok Sabha constituency located in the Vindhya region is witnessing a straight fight between BJP and Congress. BJP has dropped sitting MP Gyan Singh, who won in bypoll in 2016 and has opted for Himadri Singh. She will be fighting against Congress candidate Pramila Singh from this ST-reserved seat. Pramila Singh was earlier a BJP MLA.
Himadri Singh had joined the BJP from the Congress recently and was drafted in as the saffron party candidate. In the 2016 bypoll, Gyan Singh had defeated Himadri Singh, who was the Congress candidate. The party axed three-time MP Gyan Singh in order to check ant-incumbency among voters.
Himadri Singh comes from a political family with both father and mother being former Congress MPs from Shahdol. In fact his father was Union Minister in the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet.
The assembly segments under Shahdol Lok Sabha constituency areJaisingnagar, Jaitpur, Kotma, Anuppurm, Pushprajgarh, Bandhavgarh, Manpur and Barwara. In the 2018 Assembly elections, honours were even with both parties winning four seats apiece.
But it is a steady slide for BJP considering in 2014, party won the seat by 2.40 lakh margin. Later after sitting MPs death, in byelection, the party won the seat with a reduced margin of around 60,000 votes. Can they arrest the slide and retail Shahdol? Around 17 lakh voters will decide that on April 29. Historically, Congress has won Shahdol five times and BJP six times. Dalpat Singh Paraste had won the seat five times.
Voting for 29 Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh are being held in 4 phases. In the first phase Balaghat, Chhindwara. Jabalpur. Mandla, Shahdol and Sidhi are going to polls. BJP won 27 out of 29 Lok Sabha seats in the last Lok Sabha election. In the 2018 Assembly polls, where BJP lost, the party was ahead in 17 Lok Sabha seats.