The BJP Tuesday released the names of candidates for 10 assembly and one Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh going to bypolls on September 13. It has fielded state party vice-president and former Lucknow MP Lalji Tandon’s son Ashutosh Tandon ‘Gopal’ from Lucknow East.
The had fell vacant after former chief minister Kalraj Mishra was elected to Lok Sabha. Lalji Tandon was elected MP from Lucknow in 2009 and vacated the seat this year for Rajnath Singh. The party had recently indicated that Lalji could be appointed Governor but his name is yet to be announced.
Ashutosh is also the in-charge of Braj region where Mainpuri Lok Sabha is going for bypolls. Ashutosh had lost the Assembly election from Lucknow North seat in 2012 and had stood at third place. Even after the loss, the BJP had elevated him to the post of state vice-president. Sources said, Ashutosh, a Khatri, may have an advantage in Lucknow East seat that is dominated by Thakurs and Brahmins.
In Mainpuri, party has fielded Prem Singh Shakya against Samajwadi Party candidate Tej Pratap Singh Yadav who is the grand-nephew of party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav. The vacancy was created after Mulayam, who had won from both Mainpuri and Azamgarh, decided to retain his Lok Sabha membership from the latter seat. Shakya is also the BJP secretary of Braj region.
According BJP leaders, Shakya is second largest populated caste after Yadavs in Mainpuri. BJP has calculated that Shakya along with other backward castes like Lodhi and Pals with support of Dalits voters could help the party win especially when BSP has kept it self away from the bypolls.
On other assembly seats, the BJP candidates are Rajeev Gumber from Saharanpur City, Hemendra Pal Singh from Bijnor, Rajpal Chauhan from Thakurdwara, Vimla Batham from Noida, former minister Ramkumar Verma from Nighasan, Jagdish Vyas from Hamirpur, Geeta Singh from Charkhari, Santosh Patel from Sirathu and Akshaywar Lal Gaur from Balha (reserved).
Geeta Singh filed her nomination papers within few hours of declaration of her candidature from Charkhari. Sources said that Geeta along with three other BJP leaders had purchased nomination forms for Charkhari on Monday and had prepared their affidavits too.