With the selection of two women candidates from deprived communities in Madhya Pradesh for the Rajya Sabha polls, the BJP is seeking to set the tone for the 2023 Assembly polls.
After fielding an woman OBC candidate – Kavita Patidar, the party chose another woman – Sumitra Valmiki – as its second candidate.
Valmiki is a prominent face of Dalit community in the Mahakoshal division (Jabalpur) where the community has a strong dominance and plays a crucial role in Assembly seats.
Both the candidates picked up for the Rajya Sabha polls are women. “This move will help the BJP central leadership to substantiate its claim of women empowerment,” said a party source on condition of anonymity.
The second message that the party intends to send out is that it not averse to the OBC and Dalit candidates. And the third message is that both the candidates picked up for elections have emerged from the grassroots.
“Obviously, several big names who were waiting to grab the opportunity will be disappointed, but this move will boost the confidence of local level party workers,” the source added.
Of the three seats of the upper house of Parliament going to be vacant from Madhya Pradesh – one is of the Congress and two of the BJP. While the ruling party is fielding two women, the Congress has decided to give second term to senior advocate Vivek Tankha.
Patidar, who met senior BJP leader and the former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Monday said: “I had not imagined that the party will send my name for Rajya Sabha.”
Notably, the BJP’s second candidate, hails from Jabalpur (Mahakoshal) division. Congress candidate Tankha is also from Jabalpur and was party’s candidate for Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
A source, who is privy to development, told IANS that central leadership of Congress was willing to field an ST or SC candidate for Rajya Sabha, however, the state leadership supported Tankha.