NEW DELHI: Setting aside internal differences, BJP today declared S S Ahluwalia- its outgoing Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha- as the party candidate from Jharkhand for the biennial elections to the Upper House.
Ahluwalia, who completed fourth term as a Rajya Sabha MP on April 2, was denied a ticket by the BJP despite being an effective Deputy Leader of the party. He was MP from Jharkhand in his last term as well.
BJP had decided not to put up a candidate from Jharkhand where it is a party of the ruling coalition headed by JMM. The latter had fielded Supreme Court lawyer Sanjeev Kumar as its candidate.
The Jharkhand Rajya Sabha polls had run into a controversy when Rs 2.15 Crore cash was seized from an SUV belonging to a kin of one of the Independent candidates R K Agarwal. Election Commission had countermanded the elections due to use of money power to win these elections.
Ahluwalia thanked BJP for "reposing faith in him".
Ahluwalia got this opportunity after the BJP did a rethink on the issue when fresh elections were announced by the Election Commission. Polling will be held on May 2 for the two seats from Jharkhand.
Both BJP and JMM have 18 MLAs each while the total votes required for a candidate to win a Rajya Sabha seat from Jharkhand is 27. The coalition also has the support of AJSU, JD(U) and Independents.
It is not clear whether JMM will field a candidate.
Anshuman Mishra, a London businessman, had also filed his nomination papers earlier and six BJP MLAs, among others, had supported him then. However, when senior BJP leaders issued directions to party MLAs not to vote for Mishra, he withdrew his nomination.
Yashwant Sinha was the first BJP leader to oppose Anshuman Mishra's candidature. When Mishra started speaking against some of the senior BJP leaders, the anger against him within the party rose. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley even served him a notice threatening to file a defamation suit.
JD(U) President Sharad Yadav and CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta were among those who requested the Election Commission to cancel the polls in Jharkhand.
Mishra, Agarwal and other Independent candidates in the fray were reportedly banking on money power to get into the Upper House.