Dehradun: The Uttarakhand BJP caused a stir on Thursday by releasing its first list of 59 candidates for the upcoming state assembly polls, omitting 10 incumbent female legislators, including women’s wing chairwoman Ritu Khanduri Bhushan, and nominating the ex-head of the women’s wing of the state Congress, Sarita Arya, who joined the BJP just three days ago.
Another name on the list that surprised many in the state party unit is that of Ramsharan Nautiyal — father of Bollywood singer Jubin Nautiyal – who left Congress and joined the BJP in 2014. He was pitted against congressional heavyweight Pritam Singh.
Some of the 10 lawmakers removed from the list have been appeased, with their family members receiving election tickets.
Speaking about a few prominent MPs from their respective seats, party sources said they were close to expelled minister Harak Singh Rawat and would have gone with him if the BJP had denied them tickets.
These include MPs Umesh Sharma Kau, Kedar Singh Rawat and Pradeep Batra.
Contacted by ThePrint, BJP State Chairman Madan Kaushik said the selection of candidates was done on the basis of their “winnability” according to internal surveys conducted by the central leadership.
“The central leadership had established its own parameters for judging the performance of incumbent MPs by obtaining feedback from voters and party workers. The names have been finalized based on the results of the survey as to their possibility of winning,” he added.
The list of 59 candidates includes 15 members of the Brahmin community and six women. The National Assembly has a total of 70 seats.
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Important additions, omissions
A significant omission from the list of candidates is Ritu Khanduri Bhushan, who is the daughter of former Chief Minister Major General BC Khanduri (retired) and BJP MP Yamkeshwar.
The BJP leadership lined up Congress dissident Sarita Arya from Nainital, where the party lacked a formidable face after its MP Sanjeev Arya defected to Congress along with her father Yashpal Arya, who was a minister in the Pushkar Singh Dhami cabinet. , three months ago.
Ramsharan Nautiyal received a ticket from the Chakrata assembly segment, from where Congress MP and opposition leader in Uttarakhand legislature Pritam Singh won four consecutive terms.
The list includes the remaining 10 ministers (CM + cabinet + state ministers) from Uttarakhand’s council of ministers (after the exit of Harak Singh Rawat and Yashpal Arya), and some Congress leaders who joined the BJP in 2016 after defecting during the term. of the former Harish Rawat government.
As Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami to contest Khatima for third time, State Irrigation Minister Satpal Maharaj was removed from the Chaubattakhal assembly seat for the second time. Water Resources Minister BS Chufal will compete for the fifth time since Didihat. Agriculture Minister Subodh Uniyal, one of the top defectors in 2016, was also held back from Narendra Nagar, while Women and Children’s Minister Rekha Arya was given another shot at Someshwar.
State Higher Education Minister Dhan Singh Rawat and Soldiers Welfare Minister Ganesh Joshi have been held up in Srinagar and Mussoorie respectively. BJP Head of State Madan Kaushik has been sent from Haridwar City for the fifth consecutive time.
Apart from Ritu Khanduri Bhushan, other serving BJP lawmakers who have been dropped include Khanpur MLA Kunwar Pranav Singh ‘Champion’, Almora lawmaker Raghunath Singh Chauhan, Pauri MLA Mukesh Koli, Gangolihaat MLA Meena Gangola, Harbhajan Singh Cheema of Kashipur and Dwarahat legislator Mahesh Negi. The ruling party also dropped its MP Karnprayag SS Negi due to frail health, and Munni Devi from Tharali assembly constituency.
In some of these cases, family members of MPs were appointed instead. While Pranav Singh ‘Champion’ was replaced by his wife Kunwar Rani Devyani in Khanpur, Harbhajan Singh Cheema’s son Trilok Singh Cheema will be competing from Kashipur assembly seat.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)
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