BHOPAL: Opposition Congress released on Sunday its second list comprising 16 candidates for the November 28 assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, just a day after releasing 155 candidates-strong first list.
There were hardly any surprises in the second list of the 16 candidates, as the party reposed faith again in its five sitting legislators, taking the total number of sitting MLAs (to be given tickets) tally to 51.
Now the tickets of only three legislators are on hold, as three other sitting MLAs were denied tickets by the party in the first list released on Saturday evening. The Congress had total 57 MLAs in the 230 member outgoing Vidhan Sabha.
In the second list released on Sunday, the Congress gave tickets to five sitting MLAs, including five-time legislator Ramniwas Rawat (Sheopur), Mahendra Singh Yadav (Kolaras), Brijendra Singh Yadav (Mungaoli), Kunwar Vikram Singh Natiraja (Rajnagar) and Gopal Singh Chouhan (Chanderi).
Rawat, the former MP minister is also one of the four State Congress acting presidents. However, in the wake of local party workers protesting in Manawar (Dhar) and Ratlam (Rural) the party's decision to give tickets to Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti (JAYS) founder Dr Hiralal Alawa and his co-worker Laxman Singh Dindor, instead of fielding party workers, the Congress refrained from allowing more JAYS leaders to contest on its poll symbol.
According to sources within the party, the party was planning to field JAYS candidates on Congress poll symbol from Petlawad and Alirajpur seats of Jhabua and Alirajpur districts respectively, but the prime opposition party finally decided to field its own cadres from both these tribal dominated seats in the wake of anti-JAYS protests on Sunday.
While Mukesh Patel has been given ticket from Alirajpur, the former MLA Walsingh Meda has been fielded from Petlawad seat.
The JAYS, a tribal outfit having influence in tribal-dominated seats, meanwhile, is itself in disarray following cracks within its ranks. With the party founder Dr Hiralal Alawa and his close aide Laxman Singh Dindor being fielded as Congress candidates, the other faction of JAYS led by co-founder Arvind Mujalde protested over the development and set ablaze the effigy of Dr Hiralal Alawa in Manawar (Dhar).
Mujalde accused Dr Alawa of selling out the JAYS pride to Congress for his own political interests.In Ratlam Rural constituency also, the local Congress workers have started voicing dissent over JAYS related man Laxman Singh Dindor being fielded as the party candidate. According to informed sources in Ratlam district Congress unit, a large chunk of local party workers have decided not to work for the JAYS man fielded as Congress candidate from Ratlam Rural seat.
Meanwhile, protests by Congress workers were also reported from Jhabua district against fielding of ex-union minister and present MP Kantilal Bhuria's son Dr Vikrant Bhuria from Jhabua seat and niece Kalawati Bhuria from Jobat seat of adjoining Alirajpur district.
The local Congress faction led by former Jhabua MLA Javier Meda took to streets to protest two tickets being given to two members of one family in Jhabua-Alirajpur districts.
The rivalry between Javier Meda and Kantilal Bhuria isn't new, as in 2013 polls, Bhuria's niece Kalawati Bhuria had contested the Jhabua seat as an independent against Congress candidate Meda, ultimately leading to the division of Congress vote which led to BJP's win from the seat, considered a Congress citadel.