The BJP has fielded wives of two convicted MLAs, while the Congress one from the seats won by their husbands five years ago.
The three MLAs are Ashok Singh Chandel (Hamirpur), Indra Pratap alias Khabbu Tiwari (Gosaiganj in Ayodhya district), and Sanjeev Raja (Aligarh, City). Notably, all the three had won on a BJP ticket in 2017 Assembly polls. Among them, two — Ashok Singh Chandel, convicted in a murder case; and Indra Pratap, convicted of forgery – are currently in jail. Sanjeev Raja, who has been convicted in a case of assaulting a policeman, is out on bail.
The BJP has fielded Sanjeev Raja’s wife Mukta Raja from Aligarh City and Indra Pratap’s wife Aarti from Gosaiganj. The Congress has given ticket to Chandel’s wife Raj Kumari from Hamirpur.
According to police, Raja, a first-time MLA, was convicted in a 22-year-old case of assaulting a policeman last November and sentenced to two years in jail. He was, however, granted bail by the court the same day.
BJP’s Aligarh district president Rishi Pal Singh said that since Raja did not get relief from the court in his case, the party decided to field his wife from his seat.
Indra Pratap was sentenced to five years of imprisonment by a Faizabad court last December in a case of forgery. According to sources, the case was lodged against him in 1992 by a principal of a college accusing him of taking admission using a fake marksheet in 1990. Two more persons were convicted along with Pratap.
On fielding Pratap’s wife Aarti from Gosaiganj, BJP’s Ayodhya district president Sanjeev Singh said, “This is the party’s decision. Selection of candidates is done after considering several reasons.”
Ashok Singh Chandel, on the other hand, was convicted by the Allahabad High Court in a 22-year-old murder case along with eight others in April 2019. Chandel, a four-time MLA and one-time MP, was acquitted by the lower court in 2002 for “lack of evidence”. However, the High Court set aside the acquittal and sentenced him to life imprisonment. Hamirpur district Congress president Himanshu Saini was not reachable for his comment on fielding his wife.