Madhya Pradesh polls: Congress releases fifth list of 16 candidates; ex-BJP veteran Sartaj Singh gets ticket
Sartaj Singh is the third senior BJP leader in Madhya Pradesh to join the Congress after Sanjay Sharma and Padma Shukla.
Bhopal: The Congress on Thursday declared its fifth list of 16 candidates for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, which included former Union minister Sartaj Singh, who moved to the party from the BJP earlier in the day.
The Opposition announced Singh as its candidate from Hoshangabad minutes after he quit the BJP which denied him ticket in its third list.
Singh (71), a sitting MLA from Seoni-Malwa, will take on Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker and BJP candidate Sitasharan Sharma in Hoshangabad.
Among the new faces fielded by the Congress in the fifth list is Vinay Saxena who will contest from Jabalpur North.
The Congress has thus announced 225 candidates for the 28 November elections to the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly.
The party is yet to announce candidates for Budhni (Sehore district), Manpur (Dhar), Indore-2, Indore-5 and Jatara (Tikamgarh)
It is hunting for a heavy-weight candidate against Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the BJP's face for the polls, in his bastion Budhni, so that he is confined to his constituency, Congress sources said.
The ruling BJP is yet to announce six candidates.
Singh is the third senior BJP leader in the state to join the Congress after Sanjay Sharma and Padma Shukla. Sharma is the sitting BJP MLA from Tendukhenda in Seoni district.
The Congress has nominated Sharma from the same constituency for the upcoming polls.
Shukla, who resigned as the state Social Welfare Board chief and quit the BJP, has bagged Congress nomination from Vijjayraghavgarh constituency in Katni district.
Besides, the Congress has given ticket to Sanjay Singh Masani, brother-in-law of the chief minister, from Waraseoni in Balaghat district.
Waraseoni is currently represented by BJP's Yogendra Nirmal. Masani's name figured in the Congress' fourth list, released Wednesday night.
The Congress announced its first list on 3 November.
In the current Assembly, the party has 57 MLAs.
The Congress has been out of power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003. The incumbent BJP government is seeking a fourth straight term.
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