Bharatiya Janata Party's decision to field Sushma Swaraj from Bhopal in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections not gone down well with party workers and leaders in Madhya Pradesh.
Former chief minister and Member of Parliament from Bhopal, Kailash Joshi is upset with the party's decision.
Talking to rediff.com, Joshi clarified that he would not accept the Rajya Sabha ticket offered to him by the party. The BJP leader feels he has always been targeted. He was denied a ticket at the eleventh hour during the 1999 Lok Sabha election, when Uma Bharti was given the ticket.
He was later sent to Rajya Sabha. Although the state election committee has recommended his name from Bhopal, BJP's central election committee wants Swaraj to contest the Bhopal seat.
Bhopal is considered to be a safe seat for the BJP; it has been winning here since 1989. Swaraj represents Madhya Pradesh in Rajya Sabha.
Media reports have indicated that party workers and supporters of Joshi are unwilling to accept the party's decision. A section of the BJP workers believes that there is no need for the party to import a candidate from Haryana for Lok Sabha election.
However, BJP state president Narendra Singh Tomar refutes the media reports. He says, "No one has problem with the central election committee decision. After all she represents Madhya Pradesh in Rajya Sabha."
According to party sources, Hema Malini and Smriti Irani have been told to keep themselves ready to contest from Madhya Pradesh. BJP may pitch Smriti Irani against central minister and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath in Chhindwara.
The contest in Bhopal could become interesting if the Samajwadi Party and Congress decide to field actresses Jaya Bachchan and Nagma respectively. Samajwadi Party workers have been asking the party to field Jaya from Bhopal.
Nagma has reportedly sent her bio-data to contest from Bhopal. But, Congress general secretary in charge of Madhya Pradesh, Narain Sami, and state Congress president Suresh Pachauri have denied having received it.
Meanwhile, Gondwana Gantantra Party is also planning to field eunuch Shabnam Mausi, in case Swaraj contests from Bhopal. GGP has already invited Shabnam Mausi to join their party and contest from Bhopal.
Shabnam Mausi too is ready to take on Swaraj. She said, "I am ready to contest against Swaraj if GGP offers me complete support."
Presently, Shabnam Mausi represents Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). Shabnam Mausi was the first eunuch to be elected for a legislative assembly in the country. She represented Sohagpur constituency in Shahdol district from 2000 to 2003.