Dehradun: The BJP in its first list of 59 candidates has once again shown a preference for Congress defectors rather than its own cadres to field in the state polls on February 14.
According to the list released on Thursday, the party has not only chosen to field leaders who revolted against the Harish Rawat government in 2016, but also those who defected to its camp over mere past few days.
Such leaders include former Pradesh Mahila Congress president Sarita Arya and Durgeshwar Lal, who had joined the party on Thursday just a few hours before it announced its first list of candidates.
Durgeshwar Lal enters the fray from Purola while Arya is slated to contest from Nainital – a seat she had lost to BJP’s Sanjeev Arya in 2017.
Sanjeev, son of Yashpal Arya, a prominent Dalit face of Kumaon, is now in the Congress.
Most of Congress defectors — several of whom had been made ministers in 2017 — have been nominated from the seats they represent in the state assembly.
These include Satpal Maharaj from Chaubattakhal, Subodh Uniyal from Narendra Nagar, Pradeep Batra from Roorkee, Umesh Sharma Kau from Raipur, and Rekha Arya from Someshwar.
Khanpur MLA Pranav Singh Champion — one among the 10 Congress defectors who had joined the BJP in 2016 — may have been dropped from the list due to his controversial image, but the seat remains in the family with his wife Kunwarani Devyani chosen to fight the contest instead of him.
It is not unlikely that a few more Congress defectors find place in the party’s second list of 11 candidates, to be announced soon.
The trend has left a section of workers disappointed within the BJP.
Pradesh BJP secretary (organisation) Balbir Ghuniyal said it dents the morale of dedicated party cadres.
Ghuniyal, who had sought a ticket for himself from Tharali, said he has been trying for it since 2007 but he was overlooked in favour of Bhopal Ram Tamta, who quit the Congress to join the BJP in 2018.