In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP holds a majority of six seats in the first phase.

1.12 crore people in Madhya Pradesh will cast ballots in the first phase of the election for six members of parliament.

In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP holds a majority of six seats in the first phase.

The Congress and the BJP are directly competing. In this phase, the sole Lok Sabha seat held by the Congress in the entire state will go to the polls. Kamal Nath's son Nakul Nath is a candidate once again. Even this one seat that the Congress won in 2024, the BJP is keen to take it. Congress MLAs hold five of the eight assembly seats in Mandla, where they are attempting to make a resurgence.

BJP's Strategy Against Nakul Nath

BJP has fielded Vivek Banti Sahu, a young candidate, against Nakul Nath in Chhindwara. BJP has made significant inroads into Congress to ensure its victory. The Mayor of Chhindwara Municipal Corporation, Vikram Ahak, has joined BJP along with his supporters. Just three days ago, Congress MLA Kamlesh Pratap Shah, who was going to contest from the safe seat of Amarwara in the Chhindwara Lok Sabha constituency, announced his resignation from the assembly to join BJP.

In the general elections of 2019, Nakul Nath received 8.22 lakh votes, while his BJP opponent received 8.05 lakh votes. Narrowing this gap of around 17 thousand votes will indeed be a tough task for Nakul Nath, especially considering that Congress neither holds power in the state nor has its allies anymore, unlike five years ago. Moreover, BJP has already captured 5 out of 6 assembly seats in Chhindwara.

Caste Dynamics in Sidhi-Jabalpur

The constituencies of Sidhi and Jabalpur have seen a change in candidates with BJP replacing its contenders. The Jabalpur seat has been under BJP's control for 30 years, whereas the Sidhi Lok Sabha seat has seen only one defeat for BJP since 1998. The competition in Sidhi has now turned into a caste-based one, particularly between Brahmins and Patels. BJP has nominated Dr. Rajesh Mishra, a Brahmin, while Congress has fielded Kamaleshwar Patel, a Patel. Kamaleshwar Patel, the son of former Education Minister Indrajit Patel, has previously contested assembly elections but lost.

In Jabalpur, BJP has fielded former state minister Ashish Dube. This will be his first electoral contest. In response, Congress has nominated Dinesh Yadav, a veteran leader who has been in politics since 1984 and has held significant positions including district president. In the last election, Congress's heavyweight leader Vivek Tankha faced a decisive defeat against BJP's Rakesh Singh with Rakesh Singh securing 8.26 lakh votes against Tankha's 3.71 lakh votes.

Apart from this, BJP has denied ticket to MP Dhal Singh Bisain from Balaghat and fielded Bharati Pardhi against Congress's Samarath Saraswat. Bharati Pardhi has been a member of the National Executive of the Women's Wing. In contrast, Samarath Saraswat's father, Ashok Singh Saraswat, has been a former MLA. Hence, a fierce competition is expected.

Mandla Presents Opportunity for Congress

Mandla presents an opportunity for Congress as out of 8 assembly seats, 5 are with them. Despite many leaders switching to BJP, Congress has introduced a fresh face, Omkar Markam, from Dindori. The 47-year-old Markam has previously served as a minister in the Kamal Nath government. In 2014, Markam contested against Faggan Singh Kulaste but lost. A decade later, a contest between Kulaste and Markam promises to be interesting. In the last Lok Sabha elections, Faggan Singh Kulaste secured 7.37 lakh votes against Congress's Kamal Singh Marawi who got 6.39 lakh votes.

It's Not Going to be Easy for BJP in Mandla

Apart from Mandla, Congress has also nominated a candidate in Shahdol. Fundelal Marko, the MLA from Pushparajgarh, has been nominated by Congress against their own party's leader, Himadri Singh, who is a BJP MP. In the 2019 general elections, Himadri Singh, the daughter of late Congress leader Dalbir Singh and MP Rajesh Nandini Singh, contested from BJP and won with a margin of 4.5 lakh votes against Congress's candidate Fundelal. Fundelal has been a two-time MLA, but defeating BJP in Mandla seems like an uphill battle for him.