Former chief minister Babulal Gaur, who is senior member in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, batted Saturday for Chouhan’s wife Sadhna Singh’s candidature in the Assembly byelection to Vidisha, a segment crucial because it’s part of Sushama Swaraj’s Lok Sabha constituency.
“Sushma Swaraj will benefit from Sadhna Singh’s candidature. Local politics will not let anyone other than Sadhna win,’’ the veteran leader said. He conveyed his thoughts to state BJP chief Narendra Tomar on Saturday.
Gaur’s assertion has capped intense speculation over Sadhna’s possible candidature from a seat where she has been very active over the last few months. But more than her career, the speculation stems from the importance the ruling BJP is giving the LS seat represented by the Leader of Opposition.
This was precisely why Chouhan contested from Vidisha in addition to Budhni in the Assembly elections. Not wanting to lose its vote share in Vidisha and adjoining seats, the party forced its most popular leader in the state to contest, though he was reluctant. The Chief Minister vacated Vidisha which he won by a relatively slender margin of 16,966 compared to his impressive margin of 84,805 in Budhni. The party had reckoned this because former finance minister Raghavji, who was sacked over the sodomy scandal, had threatened rebellion if his daughter was not given the ticket. Raghavji relented only on the condition the CM contest from there.
Sadhna had managed her husband’s campaigning by staying put in Vidisha. Since then, she has regularly accompanied him there on political and non-political visits.
Sources in the CM house, however, said Shivraj Singh was not too keen on his wife’s candidature because it raises the prospect of both sitting in the same Assembly, a scenario he’s not comfortable with.
Meanwhile, there are speculations that Swaraj might consider contesting from Bhopal, which is considered safer than Vidisha. Except one, the BJP won all Assembly segments that make Bhopal LS seat unlike Vidisha, where it lost two seats and won one seat narrowly.
Party sources, however, said it was unlikely because Swaraj has concentrated only in Vidisha and there was no time to make the last-minute switch to Bhopal.