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|November 10, 1998||
Sakhlecha defies BJP leadership, stays in contest
Rebel Bharatiya Janata Party politician Virendra Kumar Sakhlecha and Civil Aviation and Public Grievances Minister Derahu Prasad Dhritlahre (Congress) were prominent among the candidates who did not pay heed to the threat of action for contesting against their respective parties' official candidates and remained in the fray for the November 25 assembly election in Madhya Pradesh.
Though the last date for withdrawal ended yesterday, several rebels remain in the fray against the official nominees of both the BJP and the Congress.
Official reports reaching the chief electoral officer in Bhopal said as many as 386 aspirants spread in 45 of the 61 districts withdrew their papers. Thus there are 3,465 candidates in the fray now, as 1,056 nomination papers were rejected on scrutiny on Saturday.
A report from Durg district said 124 candidates remain in the fray in 11assembly constituencies. Those who remain in the contest include Dhritlahre, who is contesting as an independent. The Madhya Pradesh Energy Development Corporation's former chairman, Bhajan Singh Nirankari, is also in the fray as an independent.
For the four seats in Rajnandgaon district, there are 49 candidates. There were 20 withdrawals in Shivpuri district, leaving 42 candidates for five assembly seats. Former Congress MLA Ganesh Gautam was among those who withdrew their papers.
A report from Raipur said former chief minister and senior Congressman Shyama Charan Shukla is among 165 candidates left in the fray in 20 assembly constituencies of Raipur, Dhamtari, and Mahasamund districts of Raipur division.
Shukla is contesting from his traditional Rajim constituency.
Congress MLA Mayaram Negi, who was denied a ticket, is contesting Bhatgaon as a candidate of the Ajeya Bharat Party of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Another Congress MLA, Gurmukh Singh Hora, who was also denied a ticket, withdrew his nomination today.
Hora told reporters at Dhamtari that he withdrew at the request of Chief Minister Digvijay Singh and party MP Charandas Mahant.
Congress rebel Purander Mishra is still in the fray as an independent candidate from Basna, while another Congress leader, Subhash Dhuppad, withdrew his nomination from the same constituency.
BJP rebel Ratiram Sahu is contesting the poll from Abhanpur.
According to political observers, most of the Congress rebels have withdrawn from the contest on the persuasion of senior leaders, while rebel BJP workers are left in the fray as independents in several constituencies.
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