After much speculation and with little time left for the nomination deadline to close, the BJP on Thursday named Olympian Yogeshwar Dutt
as its candidate for upcoming high-stake Baroda Assembly bypoll scheduled for November 3. The last date for filing nominations is October 16.
Dutt, who contested his maiden political battle against Congress’s three-time MLA Sri Krishan Hooda from Baroda, had lost by a thin margin of over 5,000 votes in the 2019 Assembly polls.
Dutt, accompanied by various other senior sportspersons from Haryana reached New Delhi Thursday morning and met CM Manohar Lal Khattar. During the meeting Karnal MP Sanjay Bhatia and Agriculture minister J P Dalal were also present. According to sources, Khattar had assured Dutt that his name was also among the four candidates shortlisted by the state unit of the BJP and the same list was forwarded to the central unit for taking the final call on the party’s nominee for Baroda assembly segment.
Dutt, who won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games and the only third Indian wrestler to win an Olympic medal had joined BJP in September 2019, barely a couple of weeks before the state went for 2019 Assembly polls. He was nominated by BJP from Baroda Assembly segment, but lost.
For the last few days, Dutt and BJP’s former state chief Subhash Barala had been visiting various villages across Baroda Assembly segment.
The main opposition in Haryana, Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), were also expected to declare their candidates after midnight.
BJP also released its list of star campaigners for Baroda bypoll. Led by CM Manohar Lal Khattar, several senior leaders of Haryana BJP figured among the 30 star campaigners. The star campaigners included Dushyant Kumar Gautam, Om Prakash Dhankar, Rao Indrajeet Singh, Krishanpal Gurjar, Sanjeev Balyan, Ratanlal Kataria, Anil Vij, Kanwarpal Gurjar, Moolchand Sharma, Ranjeet Singh, JP Dalal, Banwarilal, Sandeep Singh, Kamlesh Dhanda, Ramchandra Jangra, DP Vats, Ramesh Kaushik, Dharamveer Singh, Sunita Duggal, Arvind Sharma, Nayab Singh Saini, Brijendra Singh, Sanjay Bhatia, Virendra Singh, Rambilas Sharma, Subhash Barala, Capt Abhimanyu, Bishamber Balmiki and Krishan Panwar.
Earlier in the day, at least eight candidates including Kurukshetra’s former MP and Loktantra Suraksha Party’s Rajkumar Saini filed their nomination papers for Baroda bypoll. The nominations can be filed till 3 pm on Friday, while the candidates can withdraw their nominations by October 19.
Congress’ former Haryana chief Ashok Tanwar also fuelled speculations when he issued a statement during the day that BJP was going to nominate its former Cabinet minister Rambilas Sharma as party’s candidate from Baroda Assembly segment. Tanwar also announced that in case Bhupinder Singh Hooda contests on Congress ticket and Manohar Lal Khattar contests from BJP ticket then he will also contest as an Independent candidate in Baroda.
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