Madhya Pradesh Assemly Elections: Congress Releases First List of 155 Candidates
Congress announces Candidates list for Madhya Pradesh Polls | File Photo | (Photo Credits: PTI)

Bhopal, November 4: The Madhya Pradesh Congress announced its first list of 155 candidates for polls to the 230-member state assembly slated for November 28. The names of Congress state unit chief Kamal Nath and poll campaign committee in-charge Jyotiradtiya Scindia are not on the list. They are touted to be frontrunners for the chief minister's post if the party wins.

The list of 155 names, released late Saturday night, includes that of 21 women and 24 fresh faces. It has struck a fine balance between supporters of Scindia and former chief minister Digvijay Singh, sources said.

The party, on expected lines, renominated 46 MLAs while dropping Govardhan Upadhyay, Shakuntala Khatik and Manoj Kumar, sitting MLAs from Sironj, Kerera and Kotma respectively. They have been replaced by Ashok Tyagi, Jaswant Jatav and Sunil Saraf. Interestingly, the Congress has nominated Dr Hiralal Alawa, convener of the tribal political outfit Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti (JAYS), from the Manawar seat in Dhar district. Madhya Pradesh Assembly Elections 2018 Times Now Opinion Poll Results: BJP to Retain Power, Win 142 Seats.

Alawa, a former assistant professor at Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences, was unable for comment. The Congress-JAYS were in talks for an alliance, especially in the Nimar-Malwa region where the BJP has a formidable following. Former chief minister Digvijay Singh's son Jaivardhan, a sitting MLA, brother Lakshman Singh and nephew Priyavrat Singh have been given tickets from Raghogarh, Chachoda and Khilchipur seats respectively.

Similarly, Scindia loyalists Hemant Katare and KK Singh have been nominated from Ater and Jaora seats respectively. Four former MPs, comprising former Union minister Suresh Pachouri, Vijaylaxmi Sadho, Sajjan Singh Verma and Surendra Singh Thakur have been nominated from Bhojpur, Maheshwar, Sonkuth and Sehore respectively. Sanjay Sharma, Padma Shukla and Abhay Mishra, who recently joined the Congress after leaving the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh, have been given tickets as well.

The Congress is expected to announce the remaining 75 candidates shortly, a party leader said. The BJP stole a march on the Congress Friday by releasing its first list of 177 candidates for the assembly polls, fielding Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan from Budhni seat. The counting of votes will be taken up on December 11.