BJP announces 59 candidates for Uttarakhand
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami will contest from the Khatima constituency while the BJP has fielded its state president Madan Kaushik from Haridwar. Besides, Speaker Premchand Aggarwal will contest from his earlier constituency of Rishikesh.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced its candidates for 59 of the 70 seats in the Uttarakhand Assembly on Thursday January 20. It has dropped 10 sitting MLAs, but the family members of some of the MLAs have been given tickets. Ritu Khanduri Bhushan, daughter of former chief minister BC Khanduri, is among those who have been dropped.
Another important point to note is that the party has given tickets to all nine ministers. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami will contest from the Khatima constituency while the party has fielded its state president Madan Kaushik from Haridwar. Besides, Speaker Premchand Aggarwal will contest from his earlier constituency of Rishikesh.
After Harak Singh Rawat’s expulsion from the BJP and reports of his joining Congress, the ruling party has decided to give tickets to all disgruntled MLAs from the Congress who had rebelled against the Harish Rawat government in 2016. The party has announced Ramsharan Nautiyal, the father of Bollywood singer Jubin Nautiyal, as its candidate from the Chakrata constituency.
The list also tries to balance the caste equations. Of the 59 seats for which names have been announced, 22 are Thakurs, 15 are Brahmins, six come from the reserved category and three from the Baniya community. Thakurs make up 35 per cent of the state’s population and 25 per cent are Brahmin voters. It is assumed that along with the BJP, the Congress, too, will announce the names of its candidates with the same caste equations in mind.
The BJP may have announced its candidates on 85 per cent of the seats in Uttarakhand, but it is yet to do so in Punjab. The party is contesting the elections here in alliance with Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s SAD (Sanyukt).
In fact, the Congress, too, is yet to finalize the names of its remaining 31 candidates. Both the parties are waiting for each other to declare the names. The Congress wants the BJP to announce its candidates before it comes up with its own list so that its disgruntled leaders do not jump the fence to get tickets from the BJP. Political analysts say that it is not certain if the disgruntled Congress members will go to the BJP, but it is rather certain that they will shift to Amarinder Singh’s party.
Of the 31 seats for which the Congress is yet to declare its candidates, 13 have MLAs from the party at present. The names of these MLAs did not figure in the first list. It is likely that Chief Minister Charanjeet Singh Channi, too, will contest only from his existing seat. Earlier reports said that he might stand from Adampur besides Chamkaur Sahib.
It is the BJP that plays the big brother’s role even in the BJP-led alliance. It is expected to contest the elections from 80-90 seats out of a total of 117. Even if it contests from 80 seats, the Punjab Lok Congress and Dhindsa’s SAD (Sanyukt) will have to be satisfied with the remaining 37. With the polls having been postponed in Punjab from February 14 to February 20, the dates for nomination have also been postponed there. The candidates may now file their nominations up to February 1.
Bhagwant Mann, the chief ministerial candidate from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will contest from the Dhuri constituency in the Sangrur district. It was from the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat that Mann had won in the 2014 and 2019 Assembly elections. And he had received a greater share of the votes from the area that falls in the Dhuri Assembly constituency. It is perhaps with this in mind that the party has decided to field him from Dhuri.