Union minister Hardeep Puri files Rajya Sabha nomination from Uttar Pradesh
The 65-year-old leader, belonging to the second biggest minority group in UP, filed the nomination for the seat vacated by former defence minister Manohar Parrikar.india Updated: Jan 03, 2018 23:20 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded former Sikh bureaucrat and Union minister of state (independent charge) of housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri as its Rajya Sabha candidate from Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in the country.
The 65-year-old leader, belonging to the second biggest minority group in UP, filed the nomination for the seat vacated by former defence minister Manohar Parrikar after his appointment as the chief minister of Goa.
With the BJP having the requisite numbers, his election is a mere formality. Once he is formally declared elected, Puri would be expected to adopt and nurture villages in the state under the Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, along with deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma and other ministers, walked down from the BJP office to the Vidhan Bhawan building to show support for Puri. The CM said that the party’s decision would benefit the state.
After thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, Puri said representing UP was an honour for him.
“In coordination with PM Modi and CM Yogi, we will do whatever we can for the development of UP,” he said.
Though Puri had two months’ time, the BJP leadership decided to utilise the existing vacancy to field him from a state where the previous Samajwadi Party government had appointed a Sikh, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, as a cabinet minister for the first time.
During the 2017 UP assembly elections, Ramoowalia had said that though numerically small, Sikhs influenced voting in around 30 assembly constituencies of the state.
The BJP’s ally in Punjab – the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) –had held meetings in the state ahead of the assembly elections to galvanise the community in favour of the BJP.
The Yogi Adityanath government already has a Sikh face in Baldev Aulakh, a BJP lawmaker from Bilaspur. Inducted into the Modi ministry on September 3, Puri needed to fulfil the constitutional requirement of becoming a member of either house of the Parliament within six months.
A BJP office-bearer who was present to support Puri’s candidature said, “Muslims are not the only minority in the country. There are others who are conveniently forgotten. BJP does not believe in vote bank politics. The decision shows our focus on ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas’.”
In his bureaucratic career spanning 39 years, Puri held many top positions in India and abroad including permanent representative of India to the United Nations in Geneva and New York, president of the United Nations Security Council and chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the United Nations Security Council in 2011-12.