Chandigarh, Sep 19 :With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) high command likely to announce candidate for the Gurdaspur bypoll on September 21, the party’s state election committee has sent a list of six state leaders to the party high command for the final decision.
Sources in the BJP said six names suggested for the seat that fell vacant after the death of Bollywood actor and MP Vinod Khanna include Khanna’s wife Kavita Khanna, former child rights panel chief and businessman Swaran Salaria, former minister Mohan Lal, former state BJP chief Ashwani Sharma (also former Pathankot MLA), ex-Jalandhar Central MLA Manoranjan Kalia and former Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna.
A committee member said though the names of Khanna and Salaria were discussed mainly, other names were included in the list to give more options to the high command.
A meeting in this regard was chaired by state BJP chief and Union minister of state Vijay Sampla in Jalandhar on Saturday evening. Of 18 members of the committee, only nine attended the meeting.
Interestingly, Kalia and Khanna do not hail from the Gurdaspur segment but the state election committee is learnt to have included their names keeping their seniority in mind.
Though all candidates suggested by the party leadership are Hindus but sources said there are deliberations on considering a few Sikh faces too. There were reports of the party considering Hardeep Puri, a former diplomat who was recently inducted as a minister in the Union cabinet. Many senior state leaders said they are not sure the party will take any risk to field Puri, who is considered more of a Delhite.
Puri, who is holding the charge of minister state (independent charge) for urban development and housing, is neither member of the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. He has to become MP from either house within six months of taking charge as minister. The SAD-BJP leaders also held a meeting to discuss the strategy for the polls.
News Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com