BJP repeats candidates in Uttrakhand

New Delhi, Jan 19 | Updated: Jan 20 2007, 05:35am hrs
Adopting a status quo approach, clearly an attempt to keep number of rebel candidates minimum, the BJP on Friday has decided to repeat as many as 51 candidates for the 70 seats in the Uttrakhand Assembly elections.

Barring Indias ace shooter Jaspal Ranas father Narayan Rana, who is the sitting MLA from Mussorie, all the sitting MLAs barring one as well as those who contested and lost the polls the last time have been renominated.

The move to renominate almost all the candidates from the last time also seems to be a clear effort to avoid fighting between former chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshyari and former union minister BC Khanduri. Khanduris elevation as chairman of the state election committee of the BJP, seen as a signal by many in the party that he will be the chief ministerial choice, has not found favour with Koshyari camp.

Since the party is expecting to win majority in the state, there is a subtle race between the two leaders to become chief minister. By not annoying either of them, the leadership has tried to ensure 100 %commitment in the run-up to the elections," party sources said.

In case of Narayan Rana, it is believed that he has bargained for an assembly seat for his son. He did not stake his claim for the seat, as he had asked party ticket to be given to Jaspal.

But later, when the Tehri Lok Sabha seat became vacant because of death of Maharaja of Tehri, Jaspal placed his request with the party to contest from there. But now as son of late Maharaja Tek Sah has also written to the party evincing interest to contest, the party is in a fix, a senior leader said.

Out of the total 19 sitting MLAs, 18 have got the place in the first list. Decision of Purola seat has been deferred because there has been a strong resentment against sitting MLA Malchand.