Ahead of the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party on January 22, released a second list of candidates for 155 seats in the state. One of the most interesting inclusions in the list was the name, Pankaj Singh. Singh is the son of party veteran and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and his inclusion in the list further raises the criticism on the dynastic politics which has engulfed the UP elections, especially the BJP. There had been a lot of speculation on the candidature of Pankaj Singh, which has finally bee put to rest. Singh has earlier missed out of election nomination in two previous elections. Since then his name was among the probable candidates, with questions on which constituency will he contest from. Finally, it was decided that Rajnath Singh’s son will contest from Noida. Rajnath Singh had contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Ghaziabad which also falls under Delhi NCR.
Other important names which came up in the second list of candidates from BJP were Sidharth Nath Singh and Rita Bahuguna Joshi. As of now, the party has announced the names of 304 candidates, in an Assembly for 03 members. The elections will take place in 7 phases and will begin from February 11. Rita Bhauguna Joshi who recently left Congress to join the party has been given a ticket to contest from Lucknow Cantt. Sidharth Nath Singh, BJP’s national secretary will contest from Allahabad West. Meanwhile, this will be Pankaj Singh’s electoral debut. 40-year-old Pankaj currently holds the post of the party’s general secretary for UP and has been in-charge of BJP’s youth conventions in the state. His constituency, Noida is one of the most anticipated seats for the elections. Singh was earlier reportedly considered for candidature from Sahibabad seat, which eventually went to Sunil Sharma, an MLA. This also came as a shock for Vimla Batha, the party’s sitting MLA in Noida who had won in a bypoll.
The final list was made at a meeting of the party’s central election committee. The meet was chaired by BJP supremo Amit Shah and was attended by PM Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh himself. Meanwhile, the ruling Samajwadi Party and Congress made their alliance official in Uttar Pradesh and vowed to defeat BJP. The seven-phase polls in UP will take place on February 11, 15, 19, 23, 27, March 4 and 8.