The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Central Election Committee today announced 16 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. Most of these are from Uttar Pradesh.
Those whose names were announced today face stalwarts either from the Samajwadi Party (SP) or the Congress. Interestingly, the party did not reveal its mind about its candidate for the Lucknow seat, represented in the current Lok Sabha by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Nor was there any mention of the contestant from Allahabad, once represented by Murli Manohar Joshi. The candidate from Bulandshahr, over which former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh left the BJP, was also not revealed.
However, the party will field Tripti Shakya, an Allahabad-based young woman who is a singer of folk songs, against Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in Mainpuri. About half the constituency’s population is Shakyas (Buddhists). Shakya, who has many bhajans to her credit, has been brought up in Allahabad but her birth place is Etawah, near Mainpuri.
Kairana, for which the BJP has decided to field Hukum Singh Gurjar, is also a contentious western UP seat. The fact that the BJP has declared a Gujjar candidate in an area dominated by the Jats suggests that its talks with Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) have broken down (this seat was held for several terms by Virendra Verma, an associate of Ajit Singh’s father Charan Singh). This also suggests that the RLD will contest the seat alone and divide the votes of the Congress. Kairana is a seat on which the Samajwadi Party and the Congress have not reached an agreement yet.
In Farrukhabad, where the Congress will field former minister of state for external affairs Salman Khurshid in a “friendly fight” with the Samajwadi Party, the BJP has fielded Mithilesh Aggarwal.
Fatehpur Sikri, where the BJP has fielded Aridaman Singh, is also likely to see a Congress-SP clash, the net result being a four-way division of votes when the Bahujan Samaj Party joins the fray. Rampur, Pratapgarh and Gonda are also likely to see a four-way division of votes.
In the BJP’s list of 16, barring three, all other candidates are from upper castes, except in reserved constituencies.
The BJP’s list is as follows: Kairana: Hukum Singh Gurjar; Moradabad: Sarvesh Singh; Fatehpur Sikri: Aridaman Singh; Firozabad: Raghvar Dayal Verma; Mainpuri: Tripti Shakya; Shahjahanpur (SC): Krishna Raj; Khiri: Ajay Mishra Teni; Misrikh (SC): Anil Bhargav; Mohanlal Ganj: Ranjan Choudhary; Farrukhabad: Mithilesh Aggarwal; Kannauj: Subrat Pathak; Koshambi: Goutam Choudhary.
The party also announced three candidates from Kerala and one from Daman and Diu.