Bhopal, Apr 16 UNI | 3 months ago

Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal parliamentary constituency is bracing itself for a tight contest between the BJP, which has returned to power since the past seven terms, and its traditional rival Congress.

BJP has fielded its state office secretary and former corporator Alok Sanjar, who is pitted against Bhopal district Congress Committee president and former legislator PC Sharma in the 28-cornered contest, which includes the Bahujan Samaj Party and Aam Aadmi Party candidates.

In this minority-dominated constituency, there are 4.5 lakh Muslim electorate, while Jain, Sikhs and Buddhist communities account for around two lakh voters. Besides, Brahmin community has two lakh voters while Kayasth and Sindhi communities have 60,000 voters each.

In the recently-concluded Assembly elections, BJP candidates emerged victorious in five Assembly segments -- Berasia, Bhopal Central, Bhopal South West, Govindpura and Huzur -- falling under the constituency. The Congress nominee emerged victorious in Bhopal North constituency while an Independent won from Sehore.

In the previous Lok Sabha polls, former chief minister Kailash Joshi had defeated Congress candidate Surendra Singh Thakur by a margin of 65,157 votes. Earlier, BJP firebrand leader Uma Bharti has represented the constituency once.

Hitherto a citadel of the Congress, BJP candidate Sushil Chandra Verma captured Bhopal in 1989 and it was established as a BJP stronghold. Since then, the BJP has been winning the seat irrespective of who was fielded.

(Posted on 16-04-2014)