Expelled Congress leader Rajkumar Patel set to fight Vidisha poll against Sushma Swarajhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/expelled-congress-leader-rajkumar-patel-set-to-fight-vidisha-poll-against-sushma-swaraj/

Expelled Congress leader Rajkumar Patel set to fight Vidisha poll against Sushma Swaraj

Congress candidate from Visdisha Laxman Singh is the younger brother of party general secretary Digvijaya Singh.

The contest for the high-profile Vidisha Lok Sabha seat in Madhya Pradesh has taken an interesting turn with expelled Congress leader Rajkumar Patel filing his nomination as an Independent against sitting BJP MP Sushma Swaraj and Congress’ Laxman Singh.

Patel, said to be close to Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh, surprised many as he filed his nomination papers at a time when Laxman, the younger brother of Digvijay, is pitted against Sushma – who is contesting from the seat for the second consecutive term.

Sushma had won the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Vidisha with a huge margin of over four lakh votes.

That time Congress candidate Rajkumar Patel’s nomination was rejected on technical grounds. Patel had failed to submit the mandatory ‘B-Form’ in original on time which led to rejection of his candidature after which he was expelled from the party for six years.

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However, to prove his innocence in the matter, Patel had filed a poll petition in the Jabalpur bench of High Court in 2009 which is still pending.

Patel, who had earlier been an MLA from Budhni and was also a minister in Digvijay Singh’s Cabinet, was expecting that this time Congress will not only revoke his expulsion but also nominate him from Vidisha.

But when Congress fielded Laxman Singh against Sushma, Patel decided to contest as an Independent and filed his nomination papers on Wednesday before the Returning Officer in Raisen.

“I and my family members have been Congress loyalists for long and the Vidisha conspiracy ruined my three-decade long career in the party and put a big question mark over my credentials,” Patel told PTI over phone.

He had gone to Delhi to request Congress leadership to consider his claim for the seat clarifying that he was not at fault for the rejection of his nomination in 2009.

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