Deviating from its stand against dynastic politics, the ruling BJP has awarded tickets to close family members of several party leaders to contest the 7 December Assembly election in Rajasthan.
Party leaders said the deviation was necessitated to avoid revolt within the party, reported PTI.
In the BJP's first list of 131 candidates released on Sunday, 11 November, the party has given ticket to its 85 sitting MLAs and has taken care of the family members of prominent leaders who were denied ticket. Union Minister JP Nadda said that in the list of 131 candidates, there are 12 female candidates, 32 young candidates, 17 from the SC category, 19 from the ST category, and 25 new faces.
However, as various reports have pointed out, there are no Muslim candidates in the first list. Notably, in the last assembly election of 2013, four Muslim candidates had represented the BJP in Rajasthan, with two of them emerging victorious.
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Family Members of Leaders Given Attention
The first list comprises sons, grandsons and daughter-in-laws of several prominent leaders of the BJP. The saffron party has also given due attention to family members of deceased leaders.
The BJP has given ticket to Ram Swaroop Lamba, the son of late MP Sanwar Lal Jat, to contest election from Nasirabad seat and to Shailesh Singh, the son of late former state minister Digamber Singh, from Deeg-Kumher seat.
The party has once again reposed faith in Lamba, who was fielded to contest the Lok Sabha bypoll from Ajmer seat earlier this year. He had lost the election to Congress's Raghu Sharma by 80,000 votes.
From Kolayat Assembly seat in Bikaner district, the party has given ticket to senior leader Devi Singh Bhati's daughter-in-law Poonam Kanwar. It has fielded Rishi Bansal's wife Ritu from Bayana seat in Bharatpur district, reported PTI.
The other names include former minister Nandlal Meena's son Hemant Meena from Pratapgarh, former legislator Gurjant Singh's grandson Gurveer Singh Brar, former legislator Kailash Bhansali's nephew Atul Bhansali from Jodhpur and former legislator Kunjilal's son Rajendra Meena from Bamanwas.
No Muslim Candidates, Anger Within the Party
Among the three Muslim leaders denied tickets in the first list, two of them were defeated in 2013 Assembly polls, reported The Economic Times. They are Sagir Ahmed from Dholpur and Salim Tanwar from Mandawa.
The third Muslim leader who has been denied a ticket is Habibur Rahman, the current MLA from Nagaur. Rahman resigned from the party on Tuesday, saying that he took the decision as there is “discontent among my supporters against the party’s decision to drop my name this time”.
The lack of any Muslim candidates in the first list has also prompted the minority cell of the Rajasthan BJP to write a letter to PM Modi, Amit Shah and Vasundhara Raje, reported India Today.
"“When the list of 131 people was issued, it had people from all communities in it. Jat, Brahmin, Baniya, SC, ST – all are in it. We do not have any problem, you give ticket to everyone. But you tell, if you do not include anyone from the minority in those 131, then with what face will we go in our community asking them to vote for BJP? Why did you not include even a single name in it?”" - M Sadiq Khan, vice president, Rajasthan BJP minority cell, as quoted by India Today
However, in the second list, one Muslim candidate is likely to figure, namely Yoonus Khan, who is regarded as a “close confidante” of CM Vasundhara Raje. Khan is an MLA from Didwana.
(With inputs from PTI)
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