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BSP's CM nominee to contest from two seats

chandigarh Updated: Sep 23, 2014 08:25 IST
Vishal Joshi
Vishal Joshi
Hindustan Times

Chief ministerial candidate of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Arvind Sharma will contest from Yamunanagar and Rai assembly constituencies.

State president of BSP, Naresh Saran said the party on Monday finalised a list of nine other candidates for the poll-bound Haryana. The BSP leadership has so far announced 44 candidates and names for the remaining 46 constituencies would be announced in a couple of days.

Meanwhile, Saran reiterated party's stand on contesting assembly elections alone and called the media speculations on a mega alliance with other political parties as unfounded.

"Party's stand is firm on no any alliance and there is no truth in reports of negotiations on any alliance," said Saran on phone.

Three-time parliamentarian Arvind Sharma had quit the Congress to join the BSP after Lok Sabha elections. Extending her politics of social engineering to Haryana, BSP national president and former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati had announced Sharma as party's CM candidate.

She had supported the idea of a non-Jat leader to protect the interests of Dalits and other communities as only one section (read Jat) had gained maximum in all spheres of life in Haryana.

Sharma (51) was elected from Karnal parliamentary seat for two consecutive terms in 2004 and 2009. Earlier, he had won from Jat-dominated Sonepat in 1996 as an Independent candidate.

In the last parliamentary elections, Sharma lost to the BJP's greenhorn candidate and owner of a Hindi daily, Ashwini Kumar Chopra 'Minna' by nearly 3.6 lakh votes.

Sharma's sharp differences with party legislators in his constituencies and other state Congress leaders were believed as one of the major factors behind his defeat.

However, political observers say Yamunanagar district is considered a BSP stronghold. The party first ventured in Haryana politics in 1998, when it allied with the Haryana Lok Dal (Rashtriya), which is now the INLD, in the parliamentary elections. Aman Kumar Nagra of the BSP had defeated BJP veteran Suraj Bhan for the Ambala (reserved) seat by 2,864 votes.

After this success, the BSP could not win any Lok Sabha seat from Haryana. However, its candidate, Bishan Lal Saini, was elected to the assembly from Jagadhari in 2000.

In 2005, BSP candidate Arjan Singh was elected from Chahhrauli in Yamunanagar, and INLD state secretary Akram Khan from Jagadhari in 2009 to become deputy speaker.

Political analysts see the BSP influence among the educated Ravidasia community, present mainly in Yamunanagar, a district bordering Uttar Pradesh, may help Sharma.

Moreover, the constituency has a sizeable number of voters from lower class who are engaged in various paper mills.

"Several Brahmin leaders, including the first chief minister of Haryana Pt Bhagwat Dyal Sharma (1967), his son Rajesh Kumar (1991), Jai Prakash Sharma (2000) and Krishna Pandit (2005) have elected from Yamunanagar constituency," said an analyst.

Similarly, observers opine that owing to his clout in Sonepat, which he had represented in 1996, may have made Sharma opt for Rai in Sonepat district.

"As the BJP and INLD have fielded Jat candidates, Sharma would try to consolidate non-Jat votes. Congress candidate Ramesh Chander Kaushaik (now a BJP MP from Sonepat), a Brahmin had won from Rai, a Jat-dominated constituency, in 2005 assembly polls," said an analyst.