BJP announces Chhattisgarh list | india | Hindustan Times
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BJP announces Chhattisgarh list

The BJP on Thursday released its first list of candidates for 72 of the 90 seats in Chhattisgarh. However, it decided to wait for Cong CM Ajit Jogi's candidature to name his rival.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2003 13:26 IST

The BJP on Thursday released its first list of candidates for 72 of the 90 seats in Chhattisgarh. However, it decided to wait for Cong CM Ajit Jogi's candidature to name his rival.

Jogi represents the Marwahi seat in the outgoing Assembly. But the BJP's central election panel favoured waiting for the Congress' announcement of his contest from that seat. The party wants to put up a "strong" candidate who can pose a tough challenge to Jogi.

Leader of the Opposition Nand Kumar Sai, from Tapkara (ST), is among the candidates named in the first list. If Jogi decides to contest from a reserved seat, the BJP is likely to name Sai against him. As Jogi's tribal status is under dispute, the BJP's plank will be — a genuine tribal versus a fake.

If Jogi goes for a general seat, the BJP may be tempted to field Union Minister Dilip Singh Judev.

Consequently, the BJP has not named any of its chief ministerial aspirants — Judev, Ramesh Bais (both Union ministers), state party chief Raman Singh or Karuna Shukla.

Judev is considered the favoured one because he was recently asked by the central leadership to undertake a rath yatra.

Refuting the talk of a tacit understanding between the BJP and the NCP, BJP general secretary Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Raman Singh ruled out fielding a common opposition candidate against Jogi.

"There has been no discussion on the fielding of a common candidate against Jogi nor having an alliance with the NCP," Singh said.

Of the 72 candidates named on Thursday, nine belong to the Scheduled Castes and 28 to the Scheduled Tribes. Twenty-one sitting MLAs and five women have made it to the list.

PM Vajpayee's niece Karuna Shukla has opted out, saying she would campaign for the party.