Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath announced that senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh will contest the 2019 general election from the Bhopal constituency, PTI reported on Saturday. Soon after the announcement, Singh told news reporters that he would have preferred to contest from his home turf Rajgarh, but had accepted the party’s decision.
Bhopal is a stronghold of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress has not won the seat since 1984.
Last week, Kamal Nath told news reporters that he had advised Singh to contest from the “toughest seat” in Madhya Pradesh – a seat that the Congress had not won in several years. Two days later, Singh, a Rajya Sabha member, said that he was ready to accept Nath’s “challenge”, but would contest from a seat chosen by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
For most of the 1970s and early 1980s, the Bhopal constituency was held by Congress leader and former President of India Shankar Dayal Sharma. Since 1989, the BJP has held on to the seat. Bhopal’s current parliamentarian, Alok Sanjar, won the seat by a margin of 3.7 lakh votes.
At a Holi event organised by the Madhya Pradesh Congress on Saturday, Kamal Nath claimed that since Singh is a former chief minister of the state, it would not “suit him” to contest from his own home turf of Rajgarh. He claimed he offered Singh the Bhopal seat instead.