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Eye on MP Polls, Congress Picks Veteran Rajmani Patel for RS Election in Bid to Woo Kurmi Voters

With CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan still standing ground as the poster boy of OBCs in Madhya Pradesh, Rajmani Patel’s nomination to Rajya Sabha is being seen as another attempt by the Congress to dent Shivraj’s pet vote bank.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:March 12, 2018, 10:56 PM IST
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Eye on MP Polls, Congress Picks Veteran Rajmani Patel for RS Election in Bid to Woo Kurmi Voters
Representative image. (File photo/PTI)
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Bhopal: Keeping an eye on the upcoming Assembly elections, Congress has meticulously opted for Kurmi leader Rajmani Patel as its Rajya Sabha nominee from Madhya Pradesh. Patel filed his nomination along with four others from BJP, including Union ministers Thavar Chand Gehlot and Dharmendra Pradhan, on Monday.

Given the strength in the Assembly, all the five are expected to be elected unopposed.

Even as senior Congress leaders lobbied hard to send state president Arun Yadav to the Upper House, Yadav backed out at the last moment, thus prompting the party to field another OBC candidate Rajmani Patel — a native of the Vindhya region, a three-time state minister and four-time MLA from Rewa’s Sirmour Assembly constituency.

Known to be a politician with a strong ground connect, Patel, according to sources in Congress could prove handy for the party to woo the Kurmi community for the Madhya Pradesh elections.

A former close aide of late Union minister Arjun Singh, Patel was elected to the Assembly for the first time in 1972 and was made the revenue minister in 1986. He, however, went into political oblivion after Congress lost power in 2003.

Patel, who was the last to file his nomination on Monday — the last day of filing the papers — told the media that he was given a chance to represent the party in Upper House as the Congress traditionally believes in the upliftment of the Dalits and backward classes.

“In MP, farmers are given bullets when they demand their rights, martyrs are not offered due honours while youths are killed in the Vyapam scam when they demand jobs,” he said.

With CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan still standing ground as the poster boy of OBCs in Madhya Pradesh, Patel’s nomination to Rajya Sabha is being seen as another attempt by the Congress to dent Shivraj’s pet vote bank.

However, according to political observers, the BJP — which had tossed up a surprise while nominating Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan from MP — is part of larger scheme of things. He could even be given a key responsibility ahead of the Assembly polls.

After filing his nomination on Monday, Pradhan said, “Madhya Pradesh has remained a laboratory for implementing welfare schemes in BJP rule.”

On being asked about his earlier remarks of bringing petroleum products into GST, the Union minister said that this would be deliberated upon collectively.

Last time, the BJP had nominated HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar from MP and was sure to be given another term from MP, but it was not the case.

His cabinet colleague and Union Minister Thavar Chand Gehlot also filed his nomination on Monday. BJP General Secretary Ajay Pratap Singh, who is considered close to Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, was also among those who submitted their nomination papers.

Senior BJP leader and the close aide of outgoing RS member Meghraj Jain, Kailash Soni also filed the nomination. Soni is also known as a strong opponent of former Union Minister Prahlad Patel, who also hails from Narsinghpur like Soni and shares strenuous relations with the chief minister. CM Shivraj recently had inducted Patel’s brother Jalam Singh into his cabinet.

Soni has earlier lost the Madhya Pradesh assembly polls twice and remained the BJP district president for years.

Four candidates from BJP and one from Congress filed nomination within the stipulated time on Monday. Two Independents had also secured nomination papers but did not file them till 3pm, said Principal Secretary of state Assembly, Bhagwandev Israni.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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