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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: BJP prefers singer Hans in North West, Udit Raj upset

Hans, a popular Punjabi folk and Sufi singer, filed his nomination from the constituency Tuesday and was accompanied by BJP MLA and leader of the opposition in the Delhi assembly Vijender Gupta.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 24, 2019 05:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced the candidature of folk singer turned politician Hans Raj Hans from North West Delhi Tuesday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced the candidature of folk singer turned politician Hans Raj Hans from North West Delhi Tuesday.(ANI)
         

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced the candidature of folk singer turned politician Hans Raj Hans from North West Delhi Tuesday, just hours before the deadline for filing nominations in Delhi ended.

Following a protest by sitting MP Udit Raj, a Dalit leader, the party had withheld Hans’ candidature on Monday.

Hans, a popular Punjabi folk and Sufi singer, filed his nomination from the constituency Tuesday and was accompanied by BJP MLA and leader of the opposition in the Delhi assembly Vijender Gupta.

Hans had joined the BJP in 2016 and was made chairman of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis. He resigned the post Monday evening after the BJP decided to field him from North West Delhi.

The singer made his political debut in 2009 when he joined the Shiromani Akali Dal and contested elections from his home town Jalandhar but lost. He joined the Congress in 2014 and later moved to the BJP in 2016.

Senior BJP leaders said Hans, who was with the Congress before he joined the BJP in 2016, has been actively working with the party. The BJP is now projecting him as its face among the scheduled castes in the city.

In a series of tweets Tuesday morning, Udit Raj had tried to building pressure on the party for a ticket. “I am waiting for ticket if not given to me I will do good bye to party,” he tweeted. But after the party announced Hans’ name, he later held a press conference and said he doesn’t know the reason why the party denied him a ticket.

Amid speculation on why the party replaced him with Hans, Udit Raj dropped the word “chowkidar” from his Twitter account but prefixed it later.

“I trusted the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and merged my Indian Justice Party with the BJP. I now realise many smaller regional parties have benefited more by remaining independent…. I’m deeply hurt that I was not even given a chance to defend myself,” Raj said. When asked whether he would leave the BJP, Raj said, “I’ll do whatever my supporters say.”

In 2014, the BJP had fielded Udit Raj, who had joined it just before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, from North West Delhi (a reserved seat for the scheduled caste community) to garner the support of the SC community.

Raj, a prominent Dalit leader, has not always been in sync with the party line on various issues. For instance, he had welcomed the entry of women of menstruating age into the Sabrimala shrine while the party opposed it and called it a matter of “tradition”.

First Published: Apr 24, 2019 05:11 IST