The BJP on Monday announced its first list of candidates for the February 15 Uttarakhand assembly polls, fielding 10 former Congress MLAs, including minister Yashpal Arya who joined the party hours before the announcement.
Union minister JP Nadda, who is the election in-charge, released the names of 64 candidates in New Delhi and said the party would announce the six remaining names, including for Chakrata, soon.
Former CM Vijay Bahuguna and Harak Singh Rawat, who were among those had revolted against chief minister Harish Rawat in March last year, have been obliged. Bahuguna’s son Saurabh will contest from Sitarganj while Harak will contest from Kotdwar.
The party has dropped former state president TS Rawat from Chaubatakhal and Vijya Barthwal, a three-time MLA from Yamkeswar seat. Another sitting MLA from Dhanaulti seat, MS Rangar has been dropped, in a bid to accommodate NS Rana, a close relative of Union home minister Rajnath Singh.
Senior leader Satpal Maharaj has been fielded from Chaubatakhal while former CM B C Khanduri’s daughter Ritu Khanduri Bhusan will contest from Yamkeswar. Satpal’s wife Amrita Rawat, former Congress MLA, has not been given a ticket but could find mention in the second list, say sources.
BJP has fielded Uttarakhand irrigation minister Yashpal Arya from Bajpur (SC), his son Sanjeev from Nainital (SC) and former Congress MLA, Kedar Rawat from Yamunotri.
The trio had switched sides from Congress to BJP earlier in the day in Delhi, dealing a blow to the faction-ridden ruling party.
Arya, who was Congress’s Dalit face in the state, was miffed at the party leadership for not giving his son a ticket to contest Nainital (SC) reserved seat, presently held by Congress MLA Sarita Arya.
Voting for the 70-member assembly will be held on February 15 and results will be announced on March 11.