BHOPAL: Arjun Arya, the young and popular leader of farmers and tribals from Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s hometown and assembly constituency Budhni in Sehore district, joined the opposition Congress in Bhopal on Saturday.
Arya joined the Congress in presence of MP Congress Committee chief Kamal Nath at state party headquarters, just a week after he refused to contest from Budhni against the CM on a Samajwadi Party ticket offered to him by SP national president Akhilesh Yadav.
While it still remains to be seen whether Arya is fielded by the Congress against the MP CM in the November 28 polls from Budhni seat, many party insiders feel that by fielding Arya from Budhni as party’s nominee, the Congress could succeed in restricting the CM to his constituency, instead of allowing him (CM) to freely campaign for BJP candidates across the state.
On October 6, the SP had declared candidates from six assembly seats in MP, including Arjun Arya from Budhni, from where the CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been winning since 2006 by-election.
Arya, however, denied the SP ticket offered to him, saying he thought that associating with the prime opposition Congress alone could uproot the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. Importantly, Arya had contested the 2013 assembly polls from Khategaon seat of Dewas district as an SP candidate but merely polled 1800-odd votes.
After Arya refused to contest on SP ticket and instead hinted joining the Congress, the SP national president Akhilesh Yadav had announced that his party will not align with the Congress and added that those denied ticket by Congress were welcome in his party.
Much on expected lines, Arya joined Congress on Saturday in current state Congress chief’s presence. Former chief minister Digvijaya Singh, who is being seen the prime force behind Arya joining the Congress, however, wasn’t present at the time he joined the party in Bhopal.
Arya, however, made it clear that he hadn’t joined the Congress for fighting polls against the CM or anyone other BJP leader.
“I’m ready to do whatever job is tasked to me by the Congress for uprooting the corrupt BJP government,” said Arya.
Last month, Arya was arrested for violating prohibitory orders by staging a protest outside the Nasrullaganj tehsil in Sehore district and subsequently spent around a fortnight at jails in Sehore and Bhopal.
While Arya was lodged in Bhopal Jail, ex-CM Digvijaya Singh had met him and assured support for his crusade for the rights of tribals and farmers in Budhni and other parts of Sehore district.
The MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been winning the Budhni seat since 2006 by-poll. In 2013, Chouhan had won the seat, defeating Congress candidate Mahendra Singh Chouhan by over 85,000 votes.