LUCKNOW: The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Friday released its first list of 11 candidates for 2019 Lok Sabha elections. While the party gave a ticket to Kunwar Danish Ali from Amroha, Ruchi Veera has been fielded from Aonla. Both Ali and Veera are turncoats.
While joined the BSP recently parting ways with the JD(S), Veera, a sitting SP MLA, had joined the party before the alliance was stitched up between the two parties.
Notably, Danish Ali had played an important role in finalising seat sharing between his former party (JD-S) and the Congress in Karnataka at the time of the formation of Kumaraswamy government.
The three of 11 candidates - Girish Chandra, Yogesh Verma and Manoj Kumar Soni -- declared are for reserved seats-Nagina, Bulandshahr and Agra, respectively, there are three Muslims on the list. Initially, speculations were rife that the BSP chief herself would test the poll waters from Nagina where Dalits and Muslim constitute over 50 per cent of the electorate.
Moreover, in the list declared on Friday, the name of Haji Fazlur Rahman from crucial Saharanpur seat stands out as his candidature would make it a three-cornered contest on the western UP seat going to poll in the first phase on April 11.
In fact, in Saharanpur, Congress has also fielded a Muslim face -- Imran Masood -who was a runner up in 2014 getting over 4 lakh votes. Masood had lost the seat to BJP's Raghav Lakhanpal with a margin of around 70,000 votes.
The BSP candidate 00 Jagdish Singh Rana -- was at number three position and had got over two lakh votes. Thus by fielding a Muslim candidate against Congress's strongman Masood, the BSP has made the fight easier for the BJP which has the sitting MP from Saharanpur.
On the other, party has reposed faith in Haji Mohammad Yaqoob Qureshi from Meerut besides Danish Ali from Amroha.
Yaqoob Qureshi had shot to spotlight around a decade ago when he had announced a bounty of Rs 51 crore on the head of a Danish cartoonist for drawing a blasphemous cartoon of Prophet Mohammad. In 2011, Qureshi, then a BSP MLA, had made waves by displaying unusual extravagance at the wedding of his daughter in Meerut.
Besides a high end Audi car, Quraishi had given away 51 motor-bikes and 51 refrigerators together with ornaments worth Rs 1 crore as dowry to the bridegroom's family.
Quraishi runs a multi-crore meat processing unit in Meerut, from where he was also exporting meat to certain middle-east countries.
Recently, there was a crackdown on his units when the Yogi government was acting against the illegal slaughter houses in the state.
The party has given ticket to Malook Nagar from Bijnor and Satbeer Nagar from Gautam Budh Nagar eye the dominating Gjjar votes in the two constituencies. Besides, Ajeet Balyan has been fielded from Aligarh and Rajveer Singh from Fatehpur Sikri.
Initially, Seema Upadhdya, a prominent Brahmin face in BSP and wife of Mayawati's close associate Ramveer Uapdhdya's wife, was the proposed candidate from Sikri but Rajveer got the ticket when Seema refused to contest the election.
With the Friday list, BSP has declared 11 of 38 seats it has to contest while being in alliance with Samajwadi Party (SP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). SP will be fielding candidates on 37 seats while RLD will contest three seats.
Two seats - Amethi and Rae Bareli -- have been left for the Congress. The party had earlier this morning released a list of 20 star campaigners including Mayawati's nephew Akash Anand. His name featured only third to that of Mayawati and party secretary Satish Chandra Mishra.
Other prominent names include RS Kushwaha, Raj Kumar Gautam, Naresh Gautam, Shamsuddin Rain, Kamal Singh Raj, Murari Lal Kein, Dinesh Kazipur, Ranvijay Singh and Janeshwar Prasad.