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BJP drops Joshi; gives Rampur to Jaya Prada

Poornima Joshi New Delhi | Updated on March 26, 2019 Published on March 26, 2019

Murli Manohar Joshi. File photo

Barring a few surprises, BJP sticks to known faces in the politically-crucial state

 

The BJP does not seem to be taking too many chances in Uttar Pradesh and is largely banking on sitting MPs if the list of candidates unveiled by the party’s Central Election Committee on Monday is any indication.

Of the 29 candidates announced for UP, as many as 21 are sitting MPs. This is contrary to reports earlier that BJP President Amit Shah is likely to drop many sitting legislators to counter the anti-incumbency factor.

The Gandhis in the BJP have switched seats. Maneka, who is a sitting MP from Pilibhit, will now contest from Sultanpur from where Varun is the sitting MP. Varun Gandhi will contest from Pilibhit which is a safer seat for him. Sources said Varun wanted to shift to Pilibhit and Maneka was believed to be keen on shifting to Karnal in Haryana. But that has apparently not materialised and Maneka and Varun Gandhi have to be content with the swapping of seats.

The sitting MP from Kanpur and veteran leader Murli Manohar Joshi has been replaced by a relative lightweight Satyadev Pachauri.

The other important announcement from the ruling party was the induction of former Samajwadi Party MP and actor Jaya Prada and her candidature from the Rampur seat. BJP’s Nepal Singh had won from Rampur in 2014 with a modest vote percentage of 37 per cent because the Muslim vote, which roughly accounts for almost 50 per cent of the electorate, got fragmented among the seven Muslim candidates fielded by different parties. Even then, the margin of victory was only 23,435 votes with the SP’s Naseer Ahmad Khan polling 3,35,181 votes against 3,58,616 votes polled by Nepal Singh.

This time around, the BJP’s nomination of Jaya Prada, who had been elected from Rampur in 2004 and again in 2009 Lok Sabha elections on an SP ticket, makes the contest critical. The SP, which is part of the Mahagathbandhan in UP with Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), has fielded Jaya Prada’s former colleague and arch rival Azam Khan from Rampur. Azam Khan had fought a pitched battle against Jaya Prada and her mentor Amar Singh in the past decade.

Published on March 26, 2019
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