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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

BJP fields former IAS officer AK Sharma in MLC polls

Sharma recently took voluntary retirement as the secretary of the Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. He has worked closely with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for about 20 years, first in the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Office and then at the Centre.

By: Express News Service | Lucknow |
Updated: January 15, 2021 10:03:49 pm
A K Sharma, MLCA Gujarat cadre officer hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Sharma had long been one of the trusted bureaucrats of Modi since his tenure as Gujarat chief minister.

The BJP on Friday nominated former Gujarat cadre IAS officer Arvind Kumar Sharma as a candidate for the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council polls, a day after he joined the party.

Sharma recently took voluntary retirement as the secretary of the Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. He has worked closely with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for about 20 years, first in the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Office and then at the Centre.

Besides Sharma, the saffron party also declared the candidatures of Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, state unit president Swatantra Dev Singh and state BJP vice-president Laxman Acharya.

The elections for the 12 MLC seats will be held on January 28. The nomination process has already started. The 12 outgoing MLCs include Dinesh Sharma, Swatantra Dev Singh and Laxman Prasad Acharya. The seat of former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Nasimuddin Siddiqui is vacant due to his disqualification after he switched to the Congress. The terms are also ending for Dharmavir Ashok and Pradip Jatav of the BSP, and Ahmed Hasan, Ashu Malik, Ramesh Yadav, Ram Jatan Rajbhar, Virendra Singh and Sahib Singh Saini of the Samajwadi Party (SP).

The SP has already declared its two candidates – veteran leader Ahmed Hassan, who is also a sitting MLC, and party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary. Both of them filed their nomination papers on Friday.

With 310 MLAs in the state Assembly, the BJP can elect its 10 candidates. It also has the strength of its alliance partner Apna Dal.

On the basis of its current strength in the state Assembly, the SP will be able to safely elect one candidate and another with the help of other parties. Though the BSP has 18 MLAs in the Assembly, some of them defected to the SP during the previous Council polls.

The BSP cannot elect a candidate on its own even with its current strength. However, sources said the party had still bought nomination papers. Following the defections of some of its MLAs to the SP, BSP chief Mayawati had declared her party would align with BJP if required to ensure the SP’s defeat.

Meanwhile, sources said even the BJP has bought some additional nomination papers. If additional candidates are fielded by any of the parties, it will result in a fierce contest.

The last date of filing of nomination papers is January 18. So far, the BJP has declared just four candidates. Sources within the party said with Assembly elections just a year away, the party would choose its other candidates very carefully, keeping all the factors in mind.

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