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J&K Assembly Polls: In BJP’s first list of 45 candidates, 14 Muslims, 3 Pandits, 2 Buddhists

The list was approved by party president Amit Shah in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday evening.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 04, 2014, 08.42 AM IST
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SRINAGAR: The BJP’s first list of 45 candidates for the assembly polls to the 87-member House in Jammu & Kashmir signals inclusiveness by fielding Muslim and Buddhist candidates, replaces veteran leaders with fresh faces and attempts consolidation of the party’s vote bank by winding up affiliate organisations.

Pursuing its ‘Mission 44’ the party has included 14 Muslims and three Kashmiri Pandits in its first list. Of the two women candidates, one is a Muslim, a dentist from Srinagar whose father was a National Conference leader who represented his party in the assembly and the LS.

The list was approved by party president Amit Shah in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday evening. Jaitley, whose wife hails from Jammu, is the party’s key strategist for Jammu & Kashmir, according to people familiar with the matter.

The party has denied tickets to seven sitting MLAs, six of whom are battling allegations of corruption, while accommodating Congress’ two-time MP and minister Lal Singh and NC’s former MP Talib Hussain. It has fielded new faces with a clean slate, denying in the process a ticket to Nand Kishore, the brother of state party president Jugal Kishore Sharma fearing it might compromise the party campaign against dynastic rule launched against NC and PDP led by Abdullahs and Muftis respectively. The party had suspended seven of its ten winners of 2008 assembly polls after they were found polling for the NC-Congress alliance during legislative council elections. In run up to the 2014 polls, however, all of them except Prof Chaman Lal Gupta were encouraged to return back to the party as the expulsion order was revoked. But six of these seven candidates have been denied tickets following the feedback from the ground.

Ashvani Sharma, who has been winning his Bishnah seat on the ticket of the BJP’s affiliate Jammu State Morcha, has formally joined the party and will contest from his constituency as a BJP candidate this time round.

The list has already triggered some discontent, with Lal Chand, the sitting MLA from Bani, threatening to contest as an independent.

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National Conference top brass to meet to discuss strategy for JK Assembly polls

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