In a setback to the three aspirants for the BJP ticket from Chandigarh, the party on Saturday announced the name of actor Kirron Kher as its candidate from the city. The decision is not likely to go down well with the aspirants who had been expressing confidence about only a person from within the city unit to be fielded from here.
Three leaders including party president Sanjay Tandon, former MP Satya Pal Jain and senior leader Harmohan Dhawan have been vying for the ticket over the past several months. It was being speculated in order to get the three to work together the party might field a senior leader from outside. Expressing his resentment, Dhawan said that she is no candidate and the BJP would lose the election.
This is the first time that Kher, who joined the BJP in 2009 would be contesting elections. She is expected to come to the city on March 18.
Different names kept doing the rounds throughout the day. While the meeting for Chandigarh was held in the afternoon, the announcement was not made. In fact Dhawan was so confident about his name having being cleared that congratulatory messages started pouring. However, after the announcement of Kirron Kher’s name by the party late on Saturday the result was seemingly unexpected.
Though Kher’s name was initially doing the rounds, she had expressed her reluctance to contest. During an attempt made by the party incharge of Chandigarh Aarti Mehra for selection of the candidate through the process of voting, apart from the three local leaders, the name of Kher was also present.
However, the voting process could not take place after the workers came to blows. Thereafter the name of the three leaders was selected by the election committee and sent to the party high command.
The names of BJP leaders Navjot Sidhu and Arun Jaitley had also done the rounds. Dhawan, Jain and Tandon have been making preparations for the elections at their own levels. In fact, both Dhawan and Tandon had even got their stickers printed along with pictures of prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi projecting themselves as candidates. The announcement is likely to increase the differences in the party.
While Kirron Kher belongs to Chandigarh, she is settled in Mumbai for several years. Twice that the BJP has fielded outsiders, it has resulted in defeat for the candidates due to lack of support from within the unit. In 1999, BJP had fielded K L Sharma who lost to Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal.
BJP leadership also seems to have fielded Kher to counter Aam Aadmi Party candidate Gul Panag. However, with there being less than a month for the elections, there is little time for someone from outside to start their campaign.
Meanwhile, after the announcement, AAP candidate Gul Panag congratulated Kirron Kher on twitter.
A renowned actor, Kirron Kher was born and brought up in Chandigarh where she did her schooling. She was an avid badminton player. She is an alumnus of Panjab University. She has done several memorable roles in films and won awards. Kher is known to be fond of sarees and jewellery. She is married to actor Anupam Kher. Kher had campaigned for the party here during the election of the Municipal Corporation. Though she has been visiting Chandigarh and participating in the programmes of the party, she has not been very active here.