Top Brass Lets Down Jaswant on Barmer

BJP names ex-Cong leader Sona Ram Chaudhary as candidate; veteran may fight as independent from hometown constituency.

Published: 22nd March 2014 09:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd March 2014 09:09 AM   |  A+A-

Jaswant Singh2_PTI

Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, who wanted to contest the “last election” of his political career from Barmer in Rajasthan has been denied his wish. The BJP has instead given the ticket to former Congress leader Sona Ram Chaudhary, who joined the party only a few days ago.

Signalling a rift within the party, the BJP’s decision to allot ticket to an ‘outsider’ also indicated that Jaswant may contest as an independent in the elections as he had threatened. He has represented BJP in Parliament since 1980 with five terms in Rajya Sabha and four terms in Lok Sabha.

The announcement of ticket to Sona Ram was met with angry protests by BJP workers in Barmer. Effigies of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje were burnt and Narendra Modi’s posters were torn down. Local leaders were miffed as they said they have been campaigning against Sona Ram for almost two decades, and asked how can they back him now.

As the controversy erupted, Sona Ram said he would reach out to Jaswant and seek his support. Jaswant did not react after the party’s decision, but denial of ticket meant an unsavoury controversy where the party old guard has been pushed to the edge. L K Advani was miffed by the way seat selection was forced on him, while M M Joshi has already been asked to shift his seat from Varanasi to Kanpur. Yaswant Sinha bowed out of the contest as ticket was given to his son for the elections. The party announced Sona Ram’s name for the Barmer seat on Friday, though he had joined the BJP in Raje’s presence only on Tuesday. Raje was pushing for the Jat leader’s name as she saw a better bet in him over Jaswant with whom she does not have the best of relations.

Jaswant had won the last elections from Darjeeling in 2009 and wanted to shift to his hometown and had publicly stated his wish to contest the elections from Barmer. But, the State leadership saw Sona Ram as a winnable candidate.

However, Sona Ram’s track record and Barmer’s political history present an interesting contradiction. During the last Assembly elections in 2013, the 72-year-old had contested as a Congress candidate and lost to 40-year-old BJP MLA Kailash Chaudhary from Baytoo constituency. Sona Ram had earlier won Lok Sabha elections from Barmer in 1996, 1998, and 1999, finally losing to BJP’s Manvendra Singh in 2004.

Manvendra Singh, currently a BJP MLA, is Jaswant Singh’s son.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp