Dilemma for Uma: Malhara or Vidisha
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Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Bharatiya Jan Shakti president Uma Bharati is in a dilemma. She cannot make up her mind on which by-poll to contest. The Vidisha Lok Sabha seat involves personal prestige of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for the by-election has been caused by his resignation. But, her stakes are high in Bada Malhara, which she gave up when she quit the BJP.
Vidisha tempts Bharati because Chouhan was made as chief minister by the BJP high command overlooking her claim. To cap it, the name of Chouhan's wife Sadhna Singh is being mentioned among possible BJP candidates. Varun Gandhi, awaiting a launch by the BJP, too has set his eyes on Vidisha, assuming that being a Jana Sangh-BJP stronghold, it would facilitate his smooth entry into the Lok Sabha. Names of two senior party leaders— BJP deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and national general secretary Arun Jaitley— are also in circulation.
Bharati cannot afford losing Bada Malhara for a variety of reasons. The foremost, of course, is emotional. But the more important is that it is located in the Bundelkhand region, from where she draws her basic strength. If she abandons this constituency for Vidisha, other political forces would step in to fill the vacuum, undermining her position in the long run. An obvious solution to her dilemma would be that she can contest from Vidisha and field one of her associates from Bada Malhara. However, sources close to her admitted that Bharati can emerge as a key player in a constituency only if she herself jumps into the fray.
As for victory, even her admireres give her a 50-50 chance in Vidisha. In Bada Malhara, sources even in BJP do not doubt her personal victory. A section of her party is in favour of giving a miss to both by-elections and focus on contesting general elections after full preparation. Another section is in favour of contesting the by-elections.
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