Barely a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked BJP leaders at the party’s national executive meeting not to seek tickets for their relatives in the assembly elections in five states, he chose to ignore his own words.
The BJP’s election committee meeting on January 15 which Modi attended agreed to give tickets to relatives of several veterans who hold sway in their area, but are not in the race this time.
Among those who have been obliged are Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh whose grandson Sandeep Singh was given a BJP ticket for Atrauli in Uttar Pradesh. Singh is also seeking a ticket for another relative and it is likely to be decided on Tuesday.
The list of BJP’s candidates for Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand announced Monday evening also figures Ritu Khanduri Bhushan, the daughter of former chief minister BC Khanduri, from Yamkeshwar in Uttarakhand. Ritu makes her electoral debut and has been given ticket in place of sitting legislator Vijaya Barthwal, triggering discontent among local unit.
Saurav Bahuguna, the son of former Congress chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, is the BJP candidate from Sitarganj in Uttarakhand. Bahuguna had rebelled against the Congress ahead of the floor test of the Harish Rawat government in May and later joined the BJP despite protest from the saffron party’s local leadership.
The BJP also took its Uttarakhand unit by surprise by giving tickets to another Congress veteran Yashpal Arya --and his son Sanjeev Arya-- who had joined the party just few hours before the candidate list was announced.
The BJP cleared names of 64 candidates for Uttarakhand in its election committee meeting and 15 tickets have gone to “outsiders”. More than two dozen outsiders also figure in BJP’s list of 149 candidates for Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP’s election committee is meeting again on Tuesday to decide candidates for the remaining seats in the two states.
Among those who fate will be decided include family members and relatives of union ministers Rajnath Singh and Kalraj Mishra, Lok Sabha MPs Hukum Singh, Jagdambika Pal, former BSP leader Swami Prasad Maurya, Brajesh Pathak and others.