NEW DELHI: The politically supercharged Sunday saw the BJP finally unveiling its second list of candidates consisting of 155 names for poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, with the saffron outfit showing the benign face to the rise of family members of senior party leaders, besides fêting turncoats.
Family members of senior BJP leaders, which included Union Minister for Home Affairs Rajnath Singh, Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, former MP from Lucknow Lalji Tandon, Lok Sabha MP from Kairana Hukum Singh, Lok Sabha MP Braj Bhushan Singh, bagged nominations to contest the Assembly elections in UP. Grandson of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri — Siddharth Nath Singh — too bagged the saffron nomination to contest from the family pocket borough in Allahabad (West). Pankaj Singh, son of Rajnath Singh, was fielded by the BJP from Noida constituency. Incidentally, the BJP dropped the sitting
MLA Anita Batham to accommodate the son of Union Minister for Home Affairs.
Sources said, Rajnath Singh managed to get tickets for at least two dozen of his supporters in the list of 304 seats released by the BJP so far. The BJP is yet to announce names of candidates for the sixth and the seventh phase of elections in the state.
In a sign of the BJP fêting the turncoats ahead of the elections, the party fielded former state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi from Lucknow (West). The BJP also nominated the former Brahmin face of the BSP Brajesh Pathak from the Lucknow (Central) constituency.
The BJP also nominated former Samajwadi Party legislators Nand Kumar Nandi and Sunil Singh.
While the BJP had fielded a large number of non-Yadav OBCs in its first list, the second list saw the saffron outfit attempting caste balance, as those from Brahmins, Thakurs, Vaishyas and extremely backward castes prominently bagged nominations.
Sources said that the BJP would leave six seats for the Anupriya Patel headed Apna Dal faction, while sparing seven constituencies for the Bhartiya Samaj Party.
Announcing the names of candidates, the BJP national general secretary Arun Singh said that the sitting MLAs have been denied nominations in a bid to accommodate winnable candidates.
While listing the achievements of the Narendra Modi government for UP, Singh said that the report card of the Akhilesh Yadav is just “fail”. Meanwhile, the Congress released its first list of 41 candidates for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, that include former Union minister Jitin Prasad and controversial leader Imran Masood.