Not budging in the face of Joshi’s stiff resistance to being asked to step aside, BJP announced Satyadev Pachauri, a minister in the UP cabinet, as the replacement for the octogenarian leader. The list of 30 candidates for UP, however, accommodated women and child welfare minister Maneka Gandhi and her son Varun Gandhi, who were allowed to swap their Pilibhit and Sultanpur seats.
Other interesting picks include actor-politician Jaya Prada, who was named against SP leader Azam Khan from Rampur in UP soon after she joined BJP. The selection ignites an old and bitter rivalry, as the former Bollywood star is close to former SP leader Amar Singh who has scores to settle with SP and Khan.
Another UP cabinet minister, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, a former UP Congress chief who joined BJP, will contest from the prestigious constituency of Allahabad, where the sitting party MP, Shyama Charab Gupta, has left for SP and is contesting from Banda. She is the daughter of the late H N Bahuguna, a former UP chief minister and well-known Congress leader.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the party’s candidate from Patna Sahib, faced protests when he landed in Patna on Tuesday. The protesters claimed loyalty to BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP R K Sinha, who was later pulled up by the party while sources said the heckling was led by a person identified as an expelled BJP member.
Varun Gandhi, who has had his ups and downs in BJP, was on the list of nominees and will stake his claim for Pilibhit, which has been a family bastion. Maneka Gandhi will be pitted in a triangular contest against SP-BSP alliance candidate Chandrabhanu Singh, alias Sonu Singh, a local politician with clout among Rajput voters who could have turned up the heat for Varun. Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh is in the fray as the Congress nominee.
Joshi, a former BJP president, made no secret of his displeasure at being denied a ticket and went public by releasing a letter addressed to voters of Kanpur saying he received a call from party general secretary (organisation) Ramlal asking him not to contest the polls. Joshi, 85, has been asked not to contest just as it was decided that 91-year-old party patriarch L K Advani will not fight from Gandhinagar.
Joshi’s defiant note was possibly the reason behind the nomination of a Brahmin face as another UP state minister, Satish Mahana, had been talked of as the frontrunner to replace the veteran leader
The party decision is in line with several veterans not being nominated to pave way for younger leaders. The 2019 election will see the curtain drop on the electoral politics of what was seen the Vajpayee-Advani era in the party. BJP has also not given tickets to B C Khanduri, Karia Munda, Kalraj Mishra, Bijoya Chakravarty — all MPs for several terms and over 80 years of age.
BJP sprang a surprise by giving 28-year-old Tejaswi Surya, an advocate and Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha general secretary, the ticket from Bangalore South, belying expectations that Tejaswini Ananth Kumar would be its choice for the constituency her husband represented six times.
The choice triggered strong protests and even state BJP president B S Yeddyurappa said they had sent only Tejaswini’s name, which, he claimed, was changed in Delhi. Tejaswini had to issue statements to mollify her supporters as she said the polls were about re-electing Narendra Modi as Prime Minister.
BJP has announced 349 candidates, including 62 in UP, so far. Two seats in UP have been left for alliance partner Apna Dal (Sonelal). Party president Amit Shah will decide the remaining 16 seats in UP where sitting MPs are likely to be replaced, and a reason behind delaying the announcement is to reduce prospects of dissidence and rebellion. The party has so far dropped 14 sitting MPs in UP.
BJP general secretary Arun Singh announced that Union minister Manoj Sinha has been fielded from Ghazipur, a seat he had won in 2014.
BJP’s Kisan Morcha chief Birendra Singh Mast has been shifted from his sitting seat Bhadohi to far-east Ballia in UP, replacing sitting MP Bharat Singh, whose poor performance was a concern for the party. Agra MP Ram Shankar Katheria, head of the SC commission who had been denied renomination from the current seat, has been moved to Etawah (SC), replacing Ashok Kumar Dohray. UP BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey has been repeated from Chandauli.
Amid rumblings over ticket denials, BJP names 43 more nominees for Lok Sabha polls – Times of India