LS polls: BJP to tighten screening process after 2 candidates forced to pull out | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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LS polls: BJP to tighten screening process after 2 candidates forced to pull out

Mar 06, 2024 04:54 AM IST

The BJP’s central election committee, headed by PM Modi, is likely to announce the second list of contestants this week, people aware of the developments said.

After two of its candidates pulled out of the electoral race over public pressure within hours of being named as contestants for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made the screening process more stringent for those joining the party and being considered for tickets, according to the people aware of the matter.

Two of the party’s candidates had to pull out of the electoral race ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. (Representative file photo)
Two of the party’s candidates had to pull out of the electoral race ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. (Representative file photo)

The party’s central election committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet later this week to announce the second list of contestants, said people aware of the details.

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The party’s central election committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet later this week to announce the second list of contestants, people aware of the developments said.

Also Read: BJP announces 194 candidates for LS polls; PM Modi to contest from Varanasi

“The state units have been instructed to reassess the panel of names that will be presented before the CEC to avoid any slip ups. The state screening committees have the mandate to verify the antecedents of the candidates, consider their background, criminal cases, political history in addition to their winnability,” said a party functionary, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The functionary said, although the party assesses the candidates on a bunch of parameters, winnability is the conclusive factor that sometimes overrides other details.

On Sunday, BJP candidate from West Bengal’s Asansol, Bhojpuri singer, Pawan Singh announced that he will not be contesting elections for personal reasons.

“I express my heartfelt gratitude to the top leadership of Bharatiya Janata Party. The party trusted me and declared me as the candidate from Asansol but due to some reason I will not be able to contest the elections from Asansol…” he said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

His candidature drew criticism on social media after both opposition as well as BJP supporters highlighted the fact that his repertoire of songs was misogynistic portraying women in poor light.

“The feedback from the state was taken seriously. For a party that empowers nari shakti (women power), it would have reflected poorly on the BJP to have not taken the response seriously,” the functionary said.

On Monday, a second candidate, and sitting MP from Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh, Upender Singh Rawat withdrew his candidature after objectionable pictures of him surfaced.

In a post on his official X (formerly Twitter), Rawat said, “An edited video of mine is being made viral which is generated by DeepFake AI technology, for which I have lodged an FIR (first information report). In this regard, I have requested the Honorable National President to get it investigated. I will not contest any election in public life until I am proven innocent.”

Despite Rawat claiming innocence and calling pictures as “fake”, the party was embarrassed after they were shared on social media platforms.

“The party will examine the complaint against him... but in wake of the controversy it has created, it was deemed fit to have a new face in the constituency,” said a second leader.

The leader declined to comment on what action has been taken for the laxity in vetting Rawat’s candidacy.

This is probably the first time that the BJP has withdrawn candidates following a public uproar.

In the past there have been instances of candidates being withdrawn in favour of political alliances or if the candidates, switched sides.

In 2022, the BJP withdrew its candidate from the assembly by-election in Mumbai’s Andheri East, to allow Rutuja Latke’e election from the seat, which was represented by her late husband Ramesh Latke.

Similarly, in 2009, former bureaucrat Bhagirath Prasad switched sides to the BJP, within hours of being fielded as a Congress candidate from the Bhind Lok Sabha constituency.

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    Smriti covers an intersection of politics and governance. Having spent over a decade in journalism, she combines old fashioned leg work with modern story telling tools.

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