FACING OPPOSITION from the traders’ community post demonetisation and implementation of GST, the BJP has decided to give tickets to 10 traders for elections to mayor’s posts. While naming candidates in 16 districts where mayoral elections are being held, BJP has declared 14 nominees till now. Ten among them are traders.
Polling in urban local bodies in UP is scheduled to be held in three phases, beginning November 22. The results will be declared on December 1, before Gujarat Assembly polls begin on December 9. Sources said leaders in Gujarat have been told to highlight the party’s “positive” results in the local body elections to showcase its support for traders.
In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, BJP has fielded Mridula Jaiswal. She is the daughter-in-law of late Shankar Prasad Jaiswal, who had been an MP, MLA and a municipal corporator from the city. Mridula’s husband deals in sale of engine oil, a business started by Shankar Prasad Jaiswal.
BJP’s Gorakhpur candidate Sitram Jaiswal is into foodgrain and cereal trade and has been associated with traders’ association in the city. In Aligarh, the party has chosen Rajiv Agrawal. Though is not a businessman, he belongs to the baniya caste. BJP leaders said the Agrawal community, which has a considerable presence in the area, also has a large share in the local business.
From Moradabad, BJP has fielded sitting mayor Vinod Agrawal — a leading exporter of brass and manufacturer of packing papers.
In Jhansi, BJP nominee Ram Teerth Singhal is into the restaurant business and also owns garment showrooms. He is the mahanagar president of the party’s vyapar mandal and has been associated with RSS for the last 40 years.
BJP’s Saharanpur candidate, Sanjeev Walia, is into real estate business and a major supplier of stone marble. He is known to be a leading businessmen in the district. From Agra, BJP has given ticket to party state co-treasurer Navin Jain — the director of a construction firm. He has been a former deputy mayor and municipal corporator from the district.
In Allahabad, BJP has fielded Abhilasha Gupta, wife of state Cabinet Minister and businessman Nand Gopal Gupta ‘Nandi’. Abhilasha was elected mayor in 2012 as an Independent candidate.
BJP’s Lucknow candidate, Sanyukta Bhatia, too, comes from a business family. Sanyukta’s son Prashant, the RSS Lucknow Vibhag Karyawah and UP in charge of RSS wing Laghu Uddyog Bharti, is also an executive member of the Indian Industries Association. In Meerut, party candidate Kanta Kardam is a state unit vice-president and comes from a business family.
When contacted, BJP state spokesperson Chandra Mohan denied that party has specifically chosen traders as mayor candidates. He, however, said: “Everyone knows that BJP is the only party that honours and supports traders.”