Sushma Swaraj, BJP’s deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, will replace former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kailash Joshi as BJP candidate from Bhopal for the Lok Sabha polls. In another development, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has urged central BJP leaders to field as many young candidates as possible.
Swaraj confirmed to HT that she would be contesting the Lok Sabha polls as “desired” by BJP Prime Minister candidate L K Advani. “Advaniji told me on January 25 to contest the polls, stating that he wanted me, Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitely to enter the fray.”
Earlier, on January 21, Naidu had told the media that Jaitely was likely to contest the Lok Sabha polls while Swaraj and he had opted out to be available for nationwide election campaign. Naidu is yet to make up his mind whether he should try his electoral luck from Nellore, which is now an unreserved seat. Jaitely is yet to decide on his constituency. He might consider either a seat in New Delhi or Amritsar.
Since Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has hinted that 30 per cent of his party nominees would belong to the young category, Modi has urged Advani on a meeting held on January 29 that the party must project more young faces to compete with the Congress.