Uikey, the present district panchayat president in Mandla and an emerging tribal leader from Madhya Pradesh, had contested the 2013 Assembly Elections but lost. The other prominent BJP tribal leader from Mahakoshal region, Faggan Singh Kulaste represents Mandla in the Lok Sabha and is a Union Minister.
Madhya Pradesh has 11 Rajya Sabha seats of which 8 are with the BJP and 3 are with the Congress. The seat against which Sampatiya Uikey has been nominated fell vacant after the death of Union Minister Anil Dave. Sampatiya will serve the remainder of Dave’s term till June 2022.
A total of 21 per cent of the population in Madhya Pradesh comprises tribals. While there are two Scheduled Caste (SC) BJP leaders from Madhya Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha, there was not a single tribal leader from the state in the Upper House. In the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly, 35 seats are reserved for SC while 47 are reserved for the Scheduled Tribe (ST). Of the 35 seats for SC, the BJP holds 28 while the party has 31 ST out of the 47 seats. The BJP’s decision to field Sampatiya Uikey has been taken keeping the national agenda in mind but the party wants to use it to its advantage in the upcoming Assembly Elections.
By nominating Sampatiya, the number of ‘outsiders’ nominated against the 11 Rajya Sabha seats has also come down to three, namely MJ Akbar, La Ganesan and Prakash Javadekar. All the 3 Congress Rajya Sabha MPs from the state, namely Satyavrat Chaturvedi, Digvijaya Singhand Vivek Tankha are ‘insiders’.