Two controversial figures in BJP’s third list for UP
The list includes Chhatrapal Singh Lodha, a former Rajya Sabha member who was named in the cash-for-query scam of 2005, and Sakshi Maharaj, a three-time former Lok Sabha MP, who was cleared of rape charges for lack of evidence. Manish Chandra Pandey reports. What’s driving the party’s game planindia Updated: Jan 06, 2012 02:25 IST
Forced to defend its anti-corruption stand after inducting tainted ex-BSP ministers, the BJP could face more embarrassment over its third list of 77 candidates which figures two controversial names and a few party hoppers.
The list, released on Wednesday, includes Chhatrapal Singh Lodha, a former Rajya Sabha member who was named in the cash-for-query scam of 2005, and Sakshi Maharaj, a three-time former Lok Sabha MP, who was cleared of rape charges for lack of evidence.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Lodha from Anupshahr in Bulandshahr and Maharaj, a Lodh OBC (Other Backward Classes) leader, from Bhongaon in western UP.
A sting operation had shown Lodha taking a bribe for asking a question in Parliament.
He was expelled from the Rajya Sabha.
Justifying Lodha’s candidature, a BJP leader said, “He is a senior Lodh leader and important for the party. The other parties too are going all out to win.”
The third list includes two sitting MLAs, four ex-MPs, 11 former MLAs, nine women and 14 Scheduled Caste candidates.
The party is targeting OBC votes in UP, which will have seven-phase polls from February 4-28. “The non-Yadav OBC, antagonised by the 4.5% sub-quota announced for minorities within the 27% OBC quota, will back the BJP,” said a party leader.
This plan is being seen as the reason why the BJP has inducted sacked Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) minister Babu Singh Kushwaha, a non-Yadav OBC, who is under the Central Bureau of Investigation scanner for the National Rural Health Mission scam in the state.
Former MLA Samarpal Singh (earlier in the RLD and then SP) is the BJP candidate from Siwal Khas. This seat is not a BJP stronghold.
Similarly, the party has fielded “outsiders” from other constituencies where it does not have a strong base.
Voices of discontent have already surfaced within the BJP over inducting tainted outsiders. Yogi Adityanath, the party’s Lok Sabha MP from Gorakhpur, had warned against allocating tickets to leaders expelled from the BSP.