Indore: Following much controversy, suspense and dilemma, Bharatiya Janata Party finally made it official that Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s parliamentary career ends this election as the party named Shankar Lalwani, a Mahajan loyalist from Indore.
It was widely speculated that the BJP which has denied ticket to various BJP leaders could also deny the same to Mahajan fondly known as Taai on age factor. Taai has turned 76 on April 12.
After subsequent BJP lists had failed to name Mahajan from Indore, the LS speaker had recently withdrawn had candidature voluntarily saying it could help the party take a call without any pressure.
Still, the party could not decide the name for a while before naming Lalwani, the former Indore Development Authority chairman, from Indore.
The name of Lalwani, who is considered close to Mahajan, was considered a contender after Mahajan had pitched for his name but there were voices of dissent against him.
After Mahajan had withdrawn her candidature, another camp in BJP strongly pitched the candidature of Kailash Vijayvargiya and his close aide Ramesh Mendola, an MLA from the city.
Amid these talks, Mahajan had reached New Delhi to meet senior party leaders and reportedly also suggested names including her loyalists – mayor Malini Gaur, social worker Jayant Bhise who comes from Marathi community as Mahajan and Lalwani.
Name of Mhow MLA Usha Thakur was also considered.
Lalwani hasn’t contested any big poll but has remained in thick of things of BJP in Indore for two decades including his stint as BJP district president and chairman of IDA. He hails to Sindhi community which has a chunk of representation in the electorate.
Lalwani was also a contender for ticket in assembly poll from assembly seat, Indore-4, but wasn’t considered.
However, with Lalwani’s nomination, an expected mega clash at Indore, the BJP citadel, turned out to be a damp squib as Congress too has named Pankaj Sanghvi who is not an established politician in Madhya Pradesh like Lalwani who remained in BJP mainstream in Indore but isn’t a big name in state politics.
However, Indore was expected to be a big clash this time but with the naming of candidates from Congress and BJP, the battle has fizzled out to an extent.
Considered one of the leading contemporary women politicians, Mahajan was born in Maharahstra’s Chiplun and later shifted base to Indore after marrying Jayant Mahajan. She made her electoral debut in 1989 and emerged as a giant killer defeating former CM Prakash Chandra Sethi.
As an MP she remained grounded and is credited with several projects being brought to Indore in the sectors of railways, aviation and urban development. She was elected as a member of 14th Lok Sabha in 2014. Earlier she had served union minister also.