Bhopal: Having struggled to be nominated from at least five seats, including an assembly constituency in Bhopal, BJP’s organisational secretary VD Sharma gave a fitting reply to his detractors by winning the Khajuraho Lok Sabha seat by a significant margin.
Sharma had faced vehement opposition from even where he was finally nominated for the parliamentary election.
Sharma, the former national general secretary of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), had tried entering the electoral fray by contesting from the Govindpura Assembly seat in Bhopal in 2018.
However, the then sitting MLA Babulal Gaur had some other plans.
After the party made it clear that it wasn’t planning to re-nominate the 86-year-old Gaur from Govindpura, he almost took on the entire saffron camp to make sure his daughter-in-law Krishna Gaur was fielded from the seat.
The logjam continued for a while after the ticket was offered to Krishna Gaur reportedly on the intervention of BJP president Amit Shah.
As the 2019 parliamentary election approached, Sharma yet again was in the hunt for a ticket, especially with the backing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Initially, Sharma the former head of Nehru Yuva Kendra, was in contention from Morena, his hometown.
However, his plans hit a roadblock after Narendra Singh Tomar who was facing internal unrest in Gwalior, from where he won in 2014, decided to switch his seat and was named the BJP nominee from Morena.
Sharma was then pinning his hopes for a ticket from Gwalior, but eventually lost out to Mayor Vivek Shejwalaker, who too shares a strong bond with the RSS.
Then Sharma pinned his hope for a nomination from Bhopal where too he had to face opposition from partymen who dubbed him as an outsider.
The BJP/RSS too backed out on his nomination after the Congress fielded veteran Digvijaya Singh from the seat.
Meanwhile, Sharma’s name started doing the rounds for the Vidisha seat, an RSS stronghold, which had in the past sent Brahmin MPs to Parliament, including late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Eventually, Sharma was named the BJP’s candidate from Khajuraho.
Here, too voices of dissent surfaced soon after his candidature was announced. The protests were particularly intense in the Chhatarpur area where his effigies were also burnt, but the party remained adamant on its decision.
Sharma also remained unperturbed and declined to accept the outsider tag as he claimed.
By winning the seat, Sharma has not only started his parliamentary career, but also shattered the Thakur dominance in Khajuraho, part of the Bundelkhand region which thrives on caste equations.
His win by a margin of over 4,90 lakh votes was also a strong statement within the party organisation.
Insiders believe the party leadership that has revolved around former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, aided by former state heads, including Narendra Singh Tomar, Nandkumar Singh Chauhan and incumbent Rakesh Singh, over the last decade requires fresh faces.
And, Sharma, with his sizable organisational experience, and as a Brahmin leader offers a good option to the party high command.
The other prominent Brahmin faces in the state BJP are Gopal Bhargav, Narottam Mishra, Rajendra Shukla and Sitasaran Shukla.