Union minister Maneka Gandhi and her son Varun Gandhi will contest from each other’s constituencies in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party announced on Tuesday. Maneka Gandhi currently represents the Pilibhit constituency and Varun Gandhi is an MP from Sultanpur, but they have swapped their seats.
The swap was Maneka Gandhi’s idea, NDTV reported, citing unidentified party officials. The party is reportedly afraid of Varun Gandhi’s chances from his current constituency of Sultanpur.
The party made the announcement as part of its tenth list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. The list named 29 candidates in Uttar Pradesh and 10 in West Bengal. Both states will vote in seven phases between April 11 and May 19.
Actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada, who joined the BJP earlier on Tuesday, has been fielded from Rampur. She was elected in 2004 and 2009 from Rampur on a Samajwadi Party ticket. She will now be contesting against Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan and the Congress’ Sanjay Kapoor.
Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi will not contest the Lok Sabha elections from his Kanpur constituency this time as the party named sitting MLA and state minister Satyadev Pachauri from the seat. Another veteran leader, LK Advani, was dropped from his Gandhinagar constituency, as the party named Amit Shah from that seat in its first list last week.
Pachauri is the minister of Khadi, village industries, sericulture, textile, micro, small and medium enterprises and export promotion in Uttar Pradesh, and is an MLA from Kanpur’s Govind Nagar constituency.
Several reports over the last few weeks have said the BJP is not giving tickets to politicians who are over 75 or 80 years of age. Murli Manohar Joshi is 85. Earlier on Tuesday, reports had emerged that Joshi had written to voters in Kanpur that he has been benched.
In an undated letter, Joshi told voters that BJP’s National General Secretary (Organisation) Ramlal told him that he “should not contest the ensuing parliamentary election from Kanpur and elsewhere”. In 2014, Joshi had vacated his Varanasi seat for Modi and contested from Kanpur instead, which he won by a huge margin.
Union minister Manoj Sinha has been fielded again from Ghazipur, while state minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi will contest from Allahabad, and state BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey will fight from Chandauli.