BHOPAL: Pannalal Solanki, a former IAS officer,who barely retired eight months ago on March 31 as the district collector, jumped into poll fray and filed nomination as an independent candidate from Vijaypur constituency of Sheopur district.
Solanki was hoping to get a ticket from the BJP, but the party denied it to the retired collector as it wanted to field a Saharia tribal from the seat, sources in the BJP claimed.
Besides Congress’ sitting MLA Raminwas Rawat and BJP’s Sitaram, there are two BJP rebels in the fray. With Solanki's entry in the arena, there are five candidates in Vijaypur. Observers say he may upset calculations in the area.
Popularly known as collector saab among tribals, Solanki filed nomination papers along with some of his tribal supporters on Thursday.
“In fact, I did not want to fight as an independent,” he later told TOI on phone, “I talked to all political parties, including the BJP.”
He said his colleagues in civil services said he should contest as he was quite popular in the region and had carried out the development work. “There was a feeling among people that the parties do not recognise the right candidate,” he rued.
Solanki was posted twice as collector in Sheopur— August 2015 —November 2016 and July 2017 to March 2018.
As a collector, he encouraged tribals to take to Kadaknath chicken breeding in regiongiving employment to the tribal community in poultry. Besides, he worked among tribals to give up liquor and tobacco.
Solanki said, “Tribal youths connect with me immediately. I am already known around the constituency. What I need is to popularise the symbol — a farmer ploughing field — given to me,” he said. Vijaypur assembly has the maximum number of Saharia tribal candidates.