New Delhi: The Congress party on Sunday released its first list of 144 candidates for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh assembly elections, scheduled to be held on November 17. The list includes several prominent leaders and former ministers, as well as some new faces and rebels from other parties.
The state Congress president and former chief minister Kamal Nath will contest from his bastion Chhindwara, where he has won nine times in the past. He is expected to face a tough challenge from the BJP candidate and former minister Deepak Joshi, who had joined the saffron party after quitting the Congress in March this year.
Other notable names in the Congress list are former ministers Sajjan Singh Verma, Govind Singh, Jitu Patwari, Tarun Bhanot, Jaivardhan Singh, Umang Singhar, Arif Aqueel, and PC Sharma. The party has also given tickets to some young leaders like Kunal Choudhary, Priyavrat Singh, Jaiwardhan Singh, and Sachin Yadav.
The Congress has also accommodated some rebels from the BJP and other parties, such as Pradyumn Singh Lodhi, Aidal Singh Kansana, Prabhuram Choudhary, and Rajyavardhan Singh Dattigaon. The party has also fielded some women candidates like Meenakshi Natrajan, Kalpana Parulekar, and Shobha Oza.
The Congress has claimed that it has given due representation to all sections of society and regions of the state in its list. The party has said that it will release its second list of candidates soon. The last date for filing nominations is October 30.
The Congress is hoping to regain power in Madhya Pradesh after losing it to the BJP in March 2020, when 22 MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia defected to the saffron party. The BJP currently has 107 MLAs in the 230-member assembly, while the Congress has 87. The majority mark is 116.