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Shanta Kumar, Javadekar in BJP list

Neena Vyas

Natwar, Shatrughan not among 14 names cleared for Rajya Sabha poll

— Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

BJP president Rajnath Singh with senior leaders L. K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, M.Venkaiah Naidu and V.K. Malhotra at an election committee meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.

NEW DELHI: After a marathon meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s central election committee here on Tuesday, 14 names were cleared for the Rajya Sabha elections from nine States. Prominent journalists Prabhu Chawla and M.J. Akbar were not accommodated; nor did the former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, who was hopeful, get the green signal.

The lone seat from Himachal Pradesh will go to the former Chief Minister Shanta Kumar as promised, in return for his cooperation when the party decided to project Prem Kumar Dhumal as the Chief Minister in the run-up to the Assembly polls.

The candidate for the only seat the BJP can win from Maharashtra is its spokesman Prakash Javadekar.

Consensus choice

From Rajasthan, the nominees chosen by consensus are the new State party president Om Mathur and sitting MP Gyan Prakash Pilania. For the three seats the BJP can get from Gujarat, the candidates are State president Purushottam Rupala, State general secretary Bharat Singh and a backward caste functionary Nattuji Halaji Thakur.

Chief Ministers Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan and Narendra Modi of Gujarat presented their views before the committee, chaired by party president Rajnath Singh and attended by Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani and other members, at the four-hour meeting.

Surplus votes for LJP?

From Bihar, the name for the lone seat that would go to the BJP is the former Union Minister C.P. Thakur. The sitting member is the former cine actor Shatrughan Sinha. Some surplus BJP votes could go to a Lok Jan Shakti Party nominee, Ranjan Yadav, described as a “sworn enemy” of Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad.

A senior BJP leader said: “We are in the market with 14 surplus votes, let us see what happens.” At the formal level, the committee left the decision on surplus votes to Mr. Rajnath Singh.

The only journalist who has made it to the BJP’s list is the sitting MP Balbir Punj, who has been accommodated for the lone seat from Orissa.

For the single seat from Chhattisgarh, the nominee is a former Minister Shiv Pratap Singh. For the three seats from Madhya Pradesh which the party can win easily, the committee has decided to nominate Maya Singh once again, the other candidates being Raghunandan Sharma and an RSS functionary in the party’s central office, Prabhat Jha.

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