A fresh round political tug-of-war has ensued between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh over the fielding of candidates for the Rajya Sabha polls scheduled on June 10.
While the BJP leaders are patting their backs for nominating two women — one OBC and a Sheduled Tribe (ST) — for the Rajya Sabha elections, the Congress has fielded a Kashmiri Pandit, Vivek Tankha, to contest for a place in the Upper House.
By nominating Kavita Patidar (OBC) and Sumitra Valmiki (ST), the BJP has set the tone for the 2023 Assembly polls, sending a message to both the communities which account for a considerable vote share in the state.
By fielding Kavita Patidar, the BJP seems to have countered Congress’ relentless allegations on the OBC reservation issue.
“The BJP fielded an OBC candidate, Kavita Patidar, for the Rajya Sabha polls. The difference with the Congress is clear,” tweeted BJP spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi.
“Why didn’t the Congress field Arun Yadav (OBC) for the Rajya Sabha polls,” asked MP BJP media in-charge, Lokendra Parasar, in a tweet.
Patidar is the general secretary of the party’s state unit from Indore. She is also the first woman OBC leader from the Malwa division to have been sent to the Upper House after OBC quota row erupted.
Talking about Sumitra Valmiki, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who accompanied her when she filed her nomination on Tuesday, said, “Sumitra (Valmiki) had never thought of going to the Rajya Sabha. Even demanding a ticket was a distance thought. But this is the BJP.”
The Congress, on the other hand, accused the BJP of hypocrisy on the Kashmiri Pandit issue.
Responding to BJP’s jibe for nominating senior advocate Vivek Tankha for a second term in the Rajya Sabha, Congress office-bearer Piyush Babele said, “The BJP is a wonderful party. Two months back, it was beating its chest for supporting the Kashmiri Pandits’ cause following the release of the film ‘The Kashmir Files’. But when the Congress nominates a Kashmiri Pandit (Vivek Tankha) for a second term in the Rajya Sabha, BJP leaders are protesting.”
At present, BJP’s Rajya Sabha members from Madhya Pradesh are Jyotiraditya Scindia, L. Murugan, Dharmedra Pradhan, M.J. Akbar, Ajay Pratap Singh, Kailash Soni, Sumer Singh Solanki, and Sampatiya Uike.
The Congress’ Rajya Sabha members from the state are Vivek Tankha, Digvijaya Singh and Rajmani Patel.