BJP on Sunday released its second list of 155 candidates for UP assembly poll with Pankaj Singh, son of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Sidharth Nath Singh and Rita Bahuguna Joshi prominent among them.
On a day filled with a string of political announcements, senior BJP leader Arun Singh and Uttar Pradesh State President Keshav Prasad Maurya chose to go ahead with their 'well thought-out' list.
Sources told Millennium Post that after intimidation from party MLAs and MPs and to appease them the party election committee went through last minute changes. The party fielded Home Minister Rajnath Singh's son Pankaj Singh, who is also a prominent face of the party's youth brigade, from Noida. Party Parliamentarian Hukum Singh's daughter Mriganka Singh has been given ticket from Kairana, another MP Sarvesh Singh's son Sushant Singh's son from Barhapur and MP of Gonda Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's son Pratik Bhushan Singh has got ticket from Gonda.
Sources also said that after the CEC meeting on Wednesday, party MPs Hukum Singh and Sarvesh Singh expressed their anger and threatened to leave the party for not providing tickets to their daughter and son. Even Rajnath Singh was not happy that that his younger son Pankaj was not fielded in the first list and had a top level meeting in the last week with party top brass at the BJP head quarters.
With this, the party has so far announced the names of 304 candidates with no Muslim nominee among them. The election to the 403-member Assembly will take place in seven phases, starting February 11. Besides Singh, who makes his electoral debut from Noida, party's national secretary Sidharth Nath Singh, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who left Congress to join BJP, and Mriganka Singh, daughter of Kairana MP Hukum Singh, are among the party candidates.
BJP has also fielded Garima Singh, first wife of Amethi royal and Congress MP Sanjay Singh, from Amethi, according to the official list released on Sunday by its general secretary Arun Singh and Uttar Pradesh unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya at a press conference. Announcing the names here, Arun Singh said the list represents all sections of people, adding, "BJP is confident of forming a government in UP with a two-third majority".
Asked about absence of Muslim nominee in the list, he said there was "no suitable" candidate. Pankaj Singh, a general secretary in the party's state unit, has missed out on becoming its nominee in a couple of previous elections. His name was doing the rounds for a number of constituencies with the party finally allotting Noida seat to him.