Looking to retain power in Rajasthan, the BJP has denied tickets to its 43 sitting MLAs, including four ministers, even as some leaders who have crossed over from other parties have been fielded for the upcoming assembly elections. The ruling party has released two lists so far of 162 candidates for the elections to be held on December 7 for 200 assembly constituencies. Names of more candidates are expected to be announced soon. The BJP had released its first list of 131 candidates on November 11, while the second list of 31 candidates was announced on November 14.
In the second list itself, the party denied tickets to 14 sitting MLAs and three ministers. In the two lists, a total of 92 sitting MLAs have been fielded again in the election. The BJP had won 163 seats in the last 2013 elections, while its arch-rival Congress could get just 21. Traditionally, these two parties have ruled the state one after another. So far, the saffron party has given tickets to 19 women candidates.
Besides, four leaders who have joined the BJP from some other parties have also got the party ticket for the polls. These include Abhinesh Mehrishi, who would contest from Ratangarh seat after quitting BSP, Congress leaders Ashok Sharma and Mahesh Pratap Singh (for Rajakheda and Nathdwara seats, respectively) and two-time independent legislator Gurdeep Shahpini (Sangaria seat). Those having been denied a ticket include Gyandeo Ahuja, a sitting MLA from Ramgarh seat of Alwar. When contacted, Ahuja declined to comment on denial of ticket from his existing constituency. “I would comment only after meeting the office bearers of the RSS,” Ahjua told PTI on Thursday.
He said he has not met Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje so far on this issue. The BJP ministers who have been denied ticket by the party from their existing seats include Babulal Verma, Dhan Singh Rawat, Rajkumar Rinwa and Surendra Goyal. Goyal has resigned from the party and has announced he will contest the election independently.
The denial of ticket to leaders like Gyandeo Ahuja and Dhan Singh Rawat has come as a surprise to many, even as they have been known for their hardliner comments that have often triggered controversies. Sheo constituency MLA Manvendra Singh has joined the Congress while the Nathdwara assembly seat fell vacant after the demise of BJP legislator Kalyan Singh Chouhan. The saffron party has not given ticket to any Muslim candidate so far.
It is also being keenly watched what would be the fate of Chief Minister Raje’s close aide Yunus Khan, who was fielded from Deedwana Assembly seat in last election. The party has not announced any candidate from that seat so far. Also, there is no clarity so far on candidature of erstwhile royal family member Diya Kumari from Sawai Madhopur seat. The counting of votes for December 7 elections would take place on December 11, along with the same for four other state assemblies — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram.