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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

In Rajya Sabha seat loss, likely Lok Sabha gain for Ajay Bhatt

While insiders say Bhatt is eyeing Lok Sabha polls, he says he will accept whatever BJP decides.

dehradun Updated: Mar 13, 2018 23:07 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Ajay Bhatt.
Ajay Bhatt.(HT PHOTO)

By naming party’s national media head Anil Baluni’s as its nominee from Uttarkhand for the biennial elections to Rajya Sabha, BJP left many other local aspirants, including state party chief Ajay Bhatt, high and dry.

The loss, however, may turn into a gain in the longer term for Bhatt who is said to be vying for a ticket to the Lok Sabha when the elections are held in 2019.

Bhatt’s tenure as state party head expires in September this year. Elected as party’s organizational head in the mountain state in 2015, Bhatt also served as the Leader of Opposition in state assembly. In 2017 assembly election, BJP romped home winning 57 of the possible 70 seats. Bhatt, however, was among one of the few big names from BJP who couldn’t capitalize on the anti-incumbency wave. He lost to Congress’s Karan Mahara by 4981 votes.

A year down the line, Bhatt was expecting to be rewarded for party’s win with the ticket to Rajya Sabha.

“Apart from former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna and Baluni, Bhatt was among the frontrunners for the ticket. The central leadership, however, gave preference to Baluni. Bhatt is now pinning hopes on the next year’s Lok Sabha elections,” a senior party leader close to Bhatt said.

Bhatt, the party leader, said is in contention for Nainital-US Nagar parliamentary seat from where Bhagat Singh Koshyari is the sitting MP. The central leadership is aware of his desire to contest the LS election. The party is also not going to repeat Koshyari because of his old age. The seat, however, has many other leaders in fray too.

“It is a classic case of ‘Ek Anaar Sau Bimaar’. Nainital parliamentary seat has many strong contenders. Khatimal MLA Pushkar Singh Dhami is in the fray for the ticket. Besides, Balraj Pasi, who has got the backing of several cabinet ministers, is also in the running. Bhatt is a strong contender too, but the final call may depend on party national president Amit Shah,” said another party leader.

Bhatt, however, rejected the reports that he was looking for a Lok Sabha ticket. “I am a party member and whatever the party feels is right for me, I will accept it,” he said.

First Published: Mar 13, 2018 21:54 IST

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