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Sons of Jaswant, Vasundhara Raje in BJP's fourth list

By Neena Vyas

NEW DELHI, MARCH 23 . Two "sons'' and some new recruits to the party figure in the Bharatiya Janata Party's fourth list of 36 Lok Sabha candidates cleared by the party's central election committee today.

This brings the total of seats declared to 324, the party general secretary, Pramod Mahajan, said while releasing the list. He indicated that the BJP would contest "364 to 365" Lok Sabha seats in all. To clear the remaining names, the committee would meet again on March 27. As many as 30 BJP MPs of the dissolved Lok Sabha have failed to get the ticket.

In Rajasthan, 18 candidates were declared today. Two "sons'', Dushyant Singh, son of the Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje, and Manvendra Singh, son of the Union Finance Minister, Jaswant Singh, have been given the Lok Sabha ticket. Dushyant Singh will contest from Jhalawar, the Lok Sabha constituency won five time by Ms. Raje and vacated by her after she became the Chief Minister less than four months ago. Manvendra Singh will try his luck once again from Barmer, a seat he contested and lost the last time.

The party has also declared Shrichand Kripalani as its candidate for Chittorgarh, a seat won by Mr. Jaswant Singh in 1996, giving a clear signal that Mr. Singh will not be contesting the coming Lok Sabha polls. The party ticket for the Jaipur seat, offered by Ms. Raje to Mr. Mahajan, has now been given to the sitting MP and former party State unit president, Girdharilal Bhargava. In fact, the list of 18 includes as many as 12 MPs of the dissolved Lok Sabha. However, in Bayana, the sitting MP, Bahadur Singh Koli, has been dropped in favour of Ram Swarup Koli. Two women figure among the 18 candidates — Jaskaur Meena will once again contest in Sawai Madhopur, and Kiran Maheshwari will take on Girija Vyas of the Congress in Udaipur. In Jodhpur, the sitting MP, Jaswant Singh Bishnoi, will once again try his luck.

Laxman Singh, Marandi included

Among the new entrants who have found favour are: Mohammed Anwarul Haque, MP from Sheohar, Bihar, who was elected to the dissolved Lok Sabha on the Rashtriya Janata Dal ticket, has been given the ticket for the same constituency; Laxman Singh, the brother of the former Congress Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Digvijay Singh, who has been given the party ticket for Rajgarh in Madhya Pradesh, the seat he had won for the Congress in 1999; and Subhangini Devi Gaekwad, who walked into the BJP only a few days ago, has been accommodated in Khera, Gujarat.

In Jharkhand, the former Chief Minister, Babulal Marandi, has been given the party ticket for Koderma, a constituency demanded as its share by alliance partner, the Janata Dal (United), whereas Sonilal Hembram will contest Dumka, the constituency once represented by Mr. Marandi, but lost in a byelection. Clearly, the party felt that Dumka, held by Shibu Soren of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in the dissolved House, was not safe enough for Mr. Marandi. In Rajmahal the party's candidate will be Som Marandi.

In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has moved Ram Krishna Kusmaria from Damoh to Khajuraho. The Damoh seat will be contested by Chandrabhan Singh. The State party president, Kailash Joshi, will fight from Bhopal. The other candidates are: Hari Vallabh Shukla (Guna); Nandkumar Singh Chauhan (Khandwa); and Ganesh Singh (Satna).

In Uttar Pradesh the Rampur seat, which the general secretary, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, wanted to contest, has been given to Rajendra Sharma, after the party decided that a few leaders should not contest. The other candidates are: Sanjay Dhotre (Akola, Maharashtra); Sanbor Swel Lyngdoh (Shillong, Meghalaya); C.P. Mudalagiriappa (Chitradurga, Karnataka); Anil Patel (Dadra and Nagar Haveli); Nitin Patel in Mehsana, Gujarat, where the sitting MP has been dropped; and Leeladhar Waghela (Kapadvanj, Gujarat).

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