IN AN embarrassment to the BJP, its two candidates for the UP Legislative Council elections from Lucknow-Unnao and Banda-Hamipur local authorities’ constituencies withdrew their nominations on Thursday, paving the way for the unopposed election of SP candidates on both seats.
BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpai expelled both candidates on charges of indiscipline and disobeying the directives of the party. The party alleged that both withdrew nominations after “taking money” from SP candidates to give them a walk-over in the elections.
While Sunil Singh alias Sajan, considered close to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, was the SP candidate from Lucknow-Unnao, the party had fielded Ramesh Mishra from Banda-Hamipur.
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The BJP, on the other hand, had fielded Anirudh Singh Chandel from Lucknow-Unnao and Anand Tripathi from Banda-Hamirpur seats.
Both had filed nominations with much fanfare. Anirudh had filed nomination in the presence Laxmikant Bajpai, party leader in legislative council, Hriday Narain Dixit, and MLA Gopal Tandon in Lucknow on February 15.
On February 14, he had held a press conference at the BJP headquarters, alleging that the ruling SP was misusing the state machinery to mount pressure on the people to vote for the SP candidate because he (Chandel) was sure to win.
While Chandel was not available for comment, a BJP leader claimed Anirudh withdrew his nomination after his family in Delhi was allegedly held hostage and threatened by some goons.
When contacted, Bajpai said: “If the candidate was under any pressure, he should have informed the party. Prima facie, both candidates withdrew nomination only for money. This is an act of indiscipline and hence, action has been taken against both candidates.”
Anand Tripathi had joined BJP the day he was fielded for the MLC polls. “Anand was associated with the SP for a long time. He joined the BJP only a few hours before his candidature for the MLC polls was announced,” said a BJP leader in Chitrakoot. Despite repeated attempts, Tripathi was not available for comment.
At Lucknow-Unnao seat, SP’s Sunil Singh alias Sajan is set to be elected unopposed as an Independent candidate, Pramod Kumar, too withdrew his nomination on Thursday. Sunil is a member of the SP state executive committee. Now, no polling will be held for the seat.
Similar is the situation in Banda-Hamirpur. Two independents, who had also filed nominations, withdrew their nominations on Thursday. Following this, SP candidate Ramesh Mishra was elected unopposed.