The BJP has decided to field actor-turned-politician Smriti Irani against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi. The announcement was made late Monday night. The saffron party also decided to pitch former SP leader Ajay Aggarwal against Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli. Aggarwal is a practising Supreme Court lawyer who has appeared in many high-profile cases.
Aggarwal has been a party hopper and joined the BJP after the SP leadership denied him any lucrative position in the state after coming to power. Incidentally, Aggarwal had earlier joined the SP only in the run-up to the 2012 UP Assembly elections hoping for a ticket but in vain.
Aggarwal, however, has earned a name for himself for filing a PIL in Taj Heritage Corridor case against Mayawati. He also claims to have argued against Congress leadership in Bofors case. “I will win against Sonia Gandhi and the BJP will create a record in UP and win majority of seats,” Aggarwal told The Indian Express after the BJP made the announcement.
Aggarwal’s family hails from Shahjahanpur and is settled in Sambhal district but has been based in Delhi for his legal practice for over a decade now.
While Irani’s name was doing the rounds for Amethi, the party’s attempt to field a high profile candidate from Sonia’s seat failed in the wake of former MP chief minister Uma Bharti’s reluctance to leave Jhansi. While Bharti later revised her position saying that she was ready to contest against Sonia, her demand that she should be allowed to contest from Jhansi as well was rejected by the BJP central election committee Monday.
The BJP also announced to field A C Shanmugam from Vellore and K M Muriganantham from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. The BJP meeting also discussed party’s alliance with the TDP in Andhra Pradesh but held back any announcement in the wake of ongoing negotiations over seat-sharing in the state.
Sources said while the party’s Seemandhra unit has reconciled to the seat-sharing, the Telangana unit has been bargaining hard for equal seat-sharing with the TDP.
“Negotiations are on,” was the response of a top party leader after the meeting.