Staff Correspondent

BHOPAL: Six candidates, including Hemant Khandelwal of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Sukhdev Panse of the Congress, have filed their nomination papers so far for the Lok Sabha by-election from Betul in Madhya Pradesh.

Mr. Panse, the Congress MLA from Masod in Betul district, filed his papers on Monday. Union Ministers Kamal Nath and Suresh Pachouri, who is also the State Congress president, and State Congress campaign committee chairman Ajay Singh were among those present on the occasion.

The last date for filing nominations is March 26. Scrutiny of papers will be done on Thursday, the deadline for withdrawal of forms is March 29, and polling is scheduled for April 12.

Besides the Congress and BJP candidates, the others who have filed their nominations include Kallu Singh Uike of Gondwana Gantantra Party, Premkumar Uike of Gondwana Mukti Sena and former bureaucrat Hoshiyar Singh (Indpendent), and Mayank Singh (Shramik Adivasi Sangathan).

Samajwadi Party MLA Sunilam is also expected to file his nomination for this election, which has acquired special significance as it would be the last major trial of strength before the State Assembly election due later this year.