Rajat Sharma


AKB30 The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday released its second list of 72 candidates for Lok Sabha elections. Among the notable candidates are Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, who will be contesting from Mumbai North, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari from his traditional constituency Nagpur, former Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar from Karnal, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur from Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh, former Uttarakhand CM trivendra Singh Rawat from Haridwar and former Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai from Haveri. Others include Pankaja Munde from Beed, Maharashtra and party media cell chief Anil Baluni from Garhwal, Uttarakhand. In Delhi, BJP has fielded Harsh Malhotra from East Delhi replacing ex-cricketer Gautam Gambhir, while Yogendra Chandolia will contest from North-west Delhi replacing Hansraj Hans. The surprising part is that BJP announced the names of its 20 candidates from Maharashtra, despite the fact that the final seat sharing with Shiv Sena (Shinde) and NCP(Ajit) is yet to be formally announced. BJP is going to contest on 31 seats, which SS (Shinde) will contest on 13 and NCP(Ajit) will contest on four seats. The message is quite clear from BJP’s second list. Firstly, MPs who made controversial statements, or created controversy causing embarrassment to the party, have failed to get tickets. For example, Pratap Simha from Mysore. It was he who procured Lok Sabha entry tickets for those who jumped from the visitors’ gallery and threw smoke bomb inside the House. Pankaja Munde was given ticket and Pritam Munde was denied ticket for creating controversy. Secondly, senior party leaders like Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal were given due respect and they were given nominations from seats of their own choice. No top leader was deprived of ticket, despite baseless speculations being circulated in media. Thirdly, the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections will be fought in the name and achievements of Narendra Modi. That is why new faces have been fielded in many constituencies. This was the reason why six out of seven Lok Sabha MPs from Delhi failed to get tickets this time, except Manoj Tiwari. In Gujarat, ten out of 22 candidates are new faces. Meanwhile, work is going on at a fast pace to sew up alliances in Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. Former AIADMK leader and late Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala’s nephew T T V Dhinakaran’s party Anna Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) has joined BJP-led NDA. BJP is in talks with ex-CM O. Panneerselvam and PMK (Pattali Makkal Katchi) for an alliance in Tamil Nadu. There is possibility of an alliance between Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal and BJP in Odisha. In Bihar, BJP has decided to leave five seats for Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party. The fight in Bihar appears to be interesting with Congress demanding 15 seats from its ally RJD, and Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM party deciding to contest 11 seats.

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