11 editors in fray in Orissa
Circumventing EC, Naidu ‘uses’ electronic media
BJP, Trinamool ties strained
Street kids crave for politicians’ attention
Hazarika to win voter hearts with music
Sripad Naik fighting elections and history
Sachin Pilot sure of victory
Upgrading PTU, building flyovers Rana’s priority
Meagre share for women in Punjab
Ex-bureaucrat vs exserviceman
Nafisa, Moushumi take on Trinamool heavyweights
Can he win for 7th time?
11 editors in fray in Orissa
Bhubaneswar, April 4
Apart from a number of journalists and media men who are all set to fight the election this time, no fewer than 11 editors of different newspapers have joined the electoral fray. Prominent among them are Tathagata Satpathy,editor of the largest-circulated Oriya daily ‘Dharitri’, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, editor of another leading daily ‘Sambad’ and Ranjib Biswal,managing editor of ‘Samaya’.
Satpathy, son of former Chief Minister Nandini Satpathy returned to the BJD about a month back after being with the Orissa Gana Parishad (OGP) for the past three years. He is fielded as the BJD candidate from Dhenkanal against Congress stalwart K.P. Singhdeo whom Satpathy had defeated in 1998.
Patnaik, son-in-law of former Chief Minister and present OPCC chief will fight from the prestigious Bhubaneswar constituency on Congress ticket. He had won the Bhubaneswar seat in 1996 but lost it in 1998. Biswal son of former Deputy Chief Minister the late Basant K. Biswal is trying his luck as the Congress nominee from Jagatsinghpur which he had won in 1996 and 1998 but lost in 1999 to BJD candidate Trilochan Kanungo
Bhartruhari Mahatab, MP of Cuttack in the dissolved Lok Sabha is the son of former Chief Minister Dr Harekrushna Mahatab. He was the editor of another leading daily ‘Prajatantra’ before he resigned and turned to politics. He is the BJD candidate from Cuttack this time too.
Some others who have put journalism on the backburner to test themselves in the poll heat are Bikash Kar,chief editor of ‘Matrubhasha’, Batakrushna Tripathy, chief editor of ‘Dinalipi’, Bismay Mohanty, editor of ‘Aji Kali’, Chittaranjan Mishra, editor of ‘Muktamandap’, Shibananda Ray, editor of ‘Kalinga Mail’, Bijoy Routray, editor of ‘Utkal Mail’, Gopanarayan Das, editor of ‘Nutan barta’ and Sarat Rout, editor of ‘Manthan’.
The three bigwigs in Orissa media testing themselves yet again at the hustings remain Satpathy, Patnaik and Biswal.
Is it a good trend that editors join politics? “Why not?” says senior scribe Dilip Hali. “Even otherwise they have political leanings. Rather, after becoming party MPs they could be more conscious of the slant of their papers”.
Tathagata refuses pointblank when asked whether he would resign as editor if elected an MP.” Why should I?” he says “My paper ‘Dharitri’ has always believed in raising issues and it would continue to do so. I will keep my editorial policy separate from my political life. Even today we carry anti-establishment stories even though I am in the BJD”.
But there are many who are skeptical about such claims. They believe that such separation is not possible. Says Narayan Mishra, retired bureaucrat, “Tathagata’s paper bitterly attacked the CM when he was out of the BJD; when he joined he toned down the stories.” A.B. Tripathy, a retired DGP, echoes the views,” In Orissa, all papers have political leanings. So it does not matter whether the editors are in the electoral fray or not. The stories would continue to be partisan.”
Orissa’s political history has had a number of mediapersons and editors doing well as leaders right from Harekrushna Mahatab to the present OPCC chief and former CM J.B. Patnaik. Even Biju Patnaik had been a mediaman; he had launched the high-profile paper ‘Kalinga’.
Circumventing EC, Naidu ‘uses’ electronic media
Hyderabad, April 4
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, then, went on lecturing on the importance of vote. “Your vote is your weapon. Women should come out and vote in the ensuing elections. You should tell everybody you know about casting vote for the right person,” he impressed upon her. “Will you?” he asked her imploringly.
Gathering her wits, Kumari was quick to reply. “Sir, we always talk about you and your government. You have done many good things. You will again come back to power,” she gushed forth. A satisfied Naidu moved on to his next call.
This is one of the several novel ways the Telugu Desam Party chief has been trying to campaign for his party for the forthcoming Parliament and Assembly poll. The half-an-hour daily teleconference programme, telecast live on several private regional television channels, is ostensibly aimed at creating awareness about the need to “vote and elect the right person.”
Christened ‘Mee Votu-Mee Bhavishyathu’ (Your Vote-Your Future), the programme effectively circumvents the Election Commission’s ban on political advertisements on electronic media even while allowing Naidu to indulge in surrogate campaign for his party. The Chief Minister might call barely half-a-dozen persons a day, but the live telecast ensures that his message reaches millions.
Though Naidu does not explicitly seek votes for his party, the programme serves to send across an unmistakable political message. The people at the ‘receiving end’ are made to feel so overawed that they start showering praises on Naidu and the performance of his government.
Known for his penchant for publicity, Naidu is particularly enamoured by the electronic media, which he believes impacts the common man in a way no other media can. No wonder then that Naidu, during the last one year, ensured that he appears live on one channel or the other almost every day. Even if there is no official programme, he would invent one so that the event can be telecast live.
To make his latest campaign more appealing, Naidu liberally used the services of two leading Telugu film stars Chiranjeevi and Nagarjuna. “Now watch Chiranjeevi impressing upon you the power of the vote,” Naidu would announce in between the programme, even as the actor, whose nominee — a well-known producer — was accommodated by the TDP for the Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency, waxes eloquent on the virtues of the vote in a democracy. The programme ends with another appeal by Nagarjuna to elect “only those who will work for you.”
Naidu has drawn up many more such innovative campaign methods and is busy shooting for many short films, which will be telecast on television channels and shown in theatres.
BJP, Trinamool ties strained
Kolkata, April 4
The state BJP president, Mr Tathagata Roy, has alleged that the TMC is secretly involving RSS workers and volunteers in their electioneering but is publicly opposing the Narendra Modi line.
Roy’s allegation came following TMC leader Mamata Banerjee’s objection to inviting Modi in the NDA’s poll campaign in Bengal which the state BJP wanted to organise.
The Gujarat Chief Minister was to arrive in Kolkata on April 10 on a two-day election campaign. But now it is uncertain if he would come to Bengal to take part in the NDA’s poll campaign.
A TMC leader, Mr Pankaj Banerjee, said Ms Banerjee had already conveyed to the BJP central leadership that they were opposed to Modi participating in their election campaign since it would harm their poll prospects.
Annoyed at the TMC’s objection to Modi’s visit, the state BJP chief accused the TMC of following double standards towards the BJP vis-à-vis NDA.
He alleged that while on the one hand, the TMC was hampering the Prime Minister and the BJP leadership, on the other hand, it was opposing Modi’s visit. He said he was determined to bring down Modi to Kolkata and get him involved in their poll campaign, whether Ms Banerjee or any other TMC leader liked it or not.
So far, there has been no joint campaign by the BJP and TMC in the state, though both parties have been organising some meetings separately in their respective areas.
Ms Banerjee, however, was recently present at an election meeting in Dum Dum and shared the dais with BJP candidate Tapan Sikhdar (also Central minister) against the CPM contestant, Amitava Nandi. This also annoyed the state BJP chief since the meeting was arranged without his knowledge.
Sikhdar’s followers claimed their leader had bridged his differences with Ms Banerjee and she had agreed to participate in a few more election campaigns in the Dum Dum constituency in favour of their candidate.
Ms Banerjee, however, has been locked in a clash with the BJP president who has been maintaining strained relations with Sikhdar over their leadership control in the state.
The state BJP chief stated in a public meeting that he did not approve of the TMC’s denial of ticket to Sudip Bandopadhyya for contesting from his sitting seat at Kolkata NW.
Roy indicated that BJP workers and supporters would participate in the election campaign in favour of Bandopadhyya against the TMC’s official candidate at Kolkata NW since they still considered Bandopadhyya as part of the NDA.
But, incidentally, the Congress already decided to extend support to Bandopadhyya without nominating any separate candidate from the Congress in the Kolkata NW seat, which originally belonged to them.
Somen Mitra, former WBPCC president, has been participating in election campaigns for Bandopadhyya. He was present at a public meeting in the Muslim Institute in central Kolkata where Ms Banerjee had been criticised for her arrogance, high-handedness and dictatorship.
Both Bandopadhyya and his actress wife, Naina Das, the TMC MLA of Bowbazar seat, are also taking out door-to-door campaigns in the area.
BJP leaders told to avoid personal attacks
Bangalore, April 4
The issue of Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin was, however, not a personal issue but a political one in which the nation’s pride and the question of who was eligible to hold high constitutional posts were involved, he said. He stressed that legislation in that regard would indeed find a place in the NDA manifesto to be released on April 8.
He came down heavily on Congress leader Janardhan Poojari for his statements about the “foreign origin” of Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani. “They are in bad taste and lower the level of public discourse.
This is only to rub salt into the wounds of refugees who have suffered due to Partition of India, for which the Muslim League and the Congress were the main culprits,— he said.
JAGUAR TRAGEDY: NDA convener and Defence Minister George Fernandes took strong objection to a Congress spokesperson attributing the recent Jaguar tragedy to spurious spare parts. “How does he know? It took us three days to reach the spot of the accident. Such comments are hurting our armed forces,” he said.
BJP ex-minister quits over denial of ticket
Rajahmundry, April 4
Talking to reporters at his residence in Bommuru, near here, he alleged that those who had worked sincerely were not being recognised and asked why he had not been given a ticket to contest the elections.
He said he would contest as an Independent candidate from the Rajahmundry Parliamentary constituency.
Some of the other members who resigned along with Mr Rao included former Member of Parliament Girijala Venkataswamy Naidu, Dr B. Venkanna Rao, state BJP Executive Member and former district president M. Kanakasundara Reddy.
Mr Rao said he had faxed his resignation letter, copies of which were provided to mediapersons, BJP National President, the Prime Minister and state party unit chief. — UNI
New Delhi, April 4
In a memorandum submitted to leaders of political parties before the Lok Sabha elections, the Delhi Child Rights Club said though all parties promise huge fortunes to adults in their election manifestos, eleven crore working and street children of the country remained totally neglected.
‘’Working children, contribute to about 20 per cent of the total production of our country and constitute a huge portion of the country’s workforce. However during the past 56 years of democracy we have been consistently neglected. We are aware that we cannot directly influence the vote bank of the parties, none of the political leaders consider our issues seriously, but they should remember we are the future of the country,’’ they regretted.
They appealed to the leaders to consider working children’s concerns in their plans of action. The club members belonging to 12 organisations said their primary need was free, quality, relevant and equal education with school mid-day meal and health facilities.
Though education has been made a fundamental right, they have not seen any improvement in the quality of education in schools, nor good buildings with all facilities have come up, they said.
‘’We have been told that the government does not have enough money to spend on our education. Further, the law does not say anything on the quality of education nor on equity in education and what it means by free education. In Delhi, we have schools operating from tents, it is a known fact that in many Delhi government schools teachers bunk their classes and during exams openly dictate the answers to cover their failure to teach the syllabus. If all this is happening in Delhi we can imagine the state of affairs in the rest of the country,’’ they observed and asked political leaders to spend enough money for school education.
The government’s long-pending decision to establish a national commission for children should be implemented as soon as possible. The Commission should be children-friendly and open to children from all walks of lives. Street and working children should have free access to the members of the commission.
They asked the leaders to sensitise local communities to be vigilant to any discrimination and ill-treatment against domestic workers. Moreover, they should not be denied the right to education, recreation and health facilities. No child below the age of 14 should be employed as domestic help and there should be some regulations for the agencies instrumental in getting children from villages and placing them as domestic help in big cities.
Alleging harassment and torture meted out to children by the police under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, the street children wanted leaders to amend it to make it more child-friendly. — UNI
Guwahati, April 4
With music being his forte, the esteemed musician, lyricist and poet said he plans to use it during his poll campaign to “reach out to my people. That is my instrument to bring a social change”.
On Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s reported criticism of Hazarika for association with the BJP, he told reporters in an interaction here, “I am a liberal man and have got the democratic right to chose what is right and so I have gone with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee”.
The former Sangeet Natak Akademi Chairman takes on the ruling Congress’ old-timer Kirip Chaliha and Asom Gana Parishad’s Bhrigu Kumar Phukan, besides others in a multi-cornered Lok Sabha election for the prestigious Guwahati seat on April 20.
Hazarika said his special concern would be development of the North-East region.
Despite acknowledging his contributions to the cultural scene of the state, Gogoi has been resorting to Hazarika-bashing by accusing him of being an “opportunist and singing not from his heart but from his lips only”.
Gogoi had reportedly said Hazarika “always takes side of whichever party is ruling. He has never taken up with the Centre issues relating to Assam, be it insurgency, floods or the pending gas cracker project”.
Hazarika said, “I decided to side with the strongest man who is Vajpayee along with whom I first had rapport in a song-making session”.
“Vajpayee has internationally established India and built the road to peace with Pakistan and all these aspects influenced my mind to join the party”, he said.
On the controversial IMDT Act, the maestro said his party would go for its scrapping during the first session of the next Parliament.
To solve the unemployment problem in the state, Hazarika said he had an ambitious proposal to establish a Rs 1000-crore mega industry for providing employment.
Undeterred by the presence of Hazarika, Gogoi is confident that “Congress’s prospect is good in Guwahati”.
Asserting that his mission was to make Guwahati the gateway to South East Asia, Hazarika said, “If I am elected, I shall translate all my clout, my contacts and my power to make meaningful contributions in this area”.
Hazarika’s first innings in politics was in 1967 when he was elected as an Independent MLA from the Naoboicha Assembly constituency in Sonitpur district for five years till 1971. — PTI
Panaji, April 4
Since 1963, which was the first time Goa went to the polls after its liberation from the Portugese rule, Panaji has never voted the same candidate twice and this is bound to play on Naik’s mind, in spite of the fact that he is considered to be the clear leader in the race.
Naik’s main opponent will be NCP state president Wilfred D’souza and a seasoned campaigner, who is confident that he can turn the BJP’s alleged ‘complacence’ about the Panaji seat into a victory for himself.
History seems to back him up. While Peter Alvares won the first Lok Sabha poll held in Goa from Panaji, he was not elected to Parliament again, setting off a tradition that has continue till date.
This trend is in sharp contrast to Mormugoa, the only other Lok Sabha seat from the state, which seems to have a much more loyal electorate, having voted Eduardo Faleiro of the Congress five times in a row and Erasmo de Sequeira of the Uunited Goans Party twice.
The present MP from the seat, Ramakant Angle of the BJP, will be hoping for the same sort of loyalty from his voters this time around, while his opponent Churchill Alemao will wish for a Panaji-like situation.
While most observers seem to be unable to pinpoint a particular reason for this inconsistency among the electorate of Panaji, it is pertinent to note that the seat has been oscillating between the Maharshtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Congress.
The BJP won the seat for the first time in the last elections, making it a clean sweep.
While political observers put Naik ahead of the race, D’Souza’s political acumen and understanding cannot be discounted and the final three weeks would decide who holds sway.
Angle and Alemao, however, will have a much tougher fight on their hands, with the battle for the minority vote playing a crucial role in deciding the victor. — PTI
New Delhi, April 4
Sachin Pilot, the bespectacled, suave scion of late Rajesh Pilot and Rama Pilot, is bubbling with enthusiasm on being nominated is the Congress candidate from this constituency, which was nurtured by his father, a prominent politician whose life was cut short by a tragic road accident, and later by his mother.
Fired by the zeal that politics is the most important instrument for ushering change or transforming the destiny of a country, he firmly believes that India needs politicians with lots of conviction.
It is this conviction which made him cushion jeers and taunts of the people when he began lessons for becoming a commercial pilot. He silenced his detractors, then.
Now, he is all set to test his business skills in the hurly-burly world of politics.
When did he become really serious about joining the Congress and contesting elections?
“Joining politics was not an emotional decision. I thought over it for almost two years. During that period I worked in my father’s constituency and ultimately felt politics was where I belonged. I joined the party in 2002,” he said.
Asked about the essential qualities of a politician, Sachin, who recently married Sara Abdullah, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said the person must have a clean image and be honest. More importantly, he or she must have the ability to strike rapport with people.
“Only such people should enter politics for they have the ability to reform the politics of the country. Politics is the most effective way of facilitating change,” he asserted.
However, Sachin is quick to add that he owes his political baptism to his father, saying that the latter made earnest efforts to nurse the constituency of Dausa.
“I was doing my MBA from Wharton Business School, Pennysylvania in the USA when my father died in a road accident four years ago. I was then shattered, but decided to overcome my grief to carry forward my father’s dream.”
Sachin could have become the natural choice for carrying his father’s mantle but at that time he was not eligible to contest and it went to his mother. Mrs Rama Pilot has now vacated the seat for her son. — UNI
Upgrading PTU, building flyovers Rana’s priority
Jalandhar, April 4
Rana Gurjit Singh, who is an MLA from Kapurthala, managed to get Congress ticket from Jalandhar after a tough fight within the party.
A graduate from Chandigarh’s Khalsa College, Rana Gurjit Singh, who originally hails from Bazpur, near Nainital. He was born on April 26, 1952, and rose to be a big and successful farmer, a business magnate. He has interests in sugar mills, paper mills and seed production.
His interests attracted him to Kapurthala, from where he was elected MLA in 2002. “I have been working for the uplift of the people of Punjab for decades. About 15,000 families are directly linked to me,” is his claim.
About his agenda and future plans, Rana Gurjit, who is known as a meticulous poll organiser, said his dream was to develop the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency on modern lines and he would give attention to all spheres, which, have been neglected so far. “My top priority would be to develop the Punjab Technical University (PTU) as a world class institute, followed by setting up of flyovers for the convenience of residents of the city on the lines of Ludhiana. An ultra-modern sewage treatment plant for the city and a full capacity treatment plant for the purification of leather industry effluents would also be set up in case I am elected. Since Jalandhar has also produced world level personalities such as legendary singer K.L. Saigal, I, would also make efforts to further develop his memorial,” said Rana Gurjit Singh.
Stressing on the need to reviving the industry of Jalandhar, Rana Gurjit Singh said he would get it declared as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). This would ensure a number of incentives to the industrial sector. “Though I don’t blame anybody, but, no such effort has been done so far. I will work for the revival of the Jalandhar industry, which, would generate new employment avenues. I would also work for the uplift of the poor and try to ensure a house for each family. I am accessible to everybody and in a habit of doing things with total commitment and involvement. I will show it also,” asserted Rana Gurjit Singh.
Referring to the alleged differences in the Jalandhar Congress, which intensified after the allotment of ticket to him, Rana Gurjit Singh said he was sure that he would be able to take all leaders along with him.” In a family, differences are common. But it does not mean that family has broken apart. All are with me,” said Rana Gurjit Singh.
Chandigarh, April 4
While the Congress has given the green signal to four women out of the 11 seats it is contesting, the Shiromani Akali Dal (B) reposed faith in lone Ms Paramjit Kaur from the Bathinda (R) parliamentary constituency.
The CPM and the Akali Dal (Amritsar) had preferred to field men candidates on several constituencies in the state while the BJP, which has so far announced the candidates for the Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur seats, is yet to name its nominee for Amritsar.
The Congress has re-nominated Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder (Gurdaspur), Ms Santosh Chaudhary (Phillaur-R) and Ms Preneet Kaur (Patiala), it fielded a face, Ms Karan Brar from the Faridkot Lok Sabha seat.
The border state, which goes to the polls on May 10, with a sizeable women population has 13 Lok Sabha seats.
Ms Khushal Bhaura, widow of Bhan Singh Bhaura, an MP in the dissolved House, has been fielded by the CPI from the party’s traditional seat of Bathinda (R). This seat had been left for the CPI by the Congress.
The Akali Dal’s Paramjit Kaur, daughter of former Union Minister Dhana Singh Gulshan, Ms Khushal Bhaura and Karan Brar, daughter-in-law of former Punjab Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar, would be trying their luck for the first time.
Both Ms Prabhjot Kaur and Satwinder Kaur, who unsuccessfully contested on the SAD (Badal) ticket in 1999 from Jalandhar and Ropar (R) seats, respectively, were ignored by SAD president Parkash Singh Badal.
The SAD (Badal) and its ally, the BJP are again contesting 10 and three seats, respectively.
Putting the blame on the fair sex for not showing interest to jump into political arena, SAD (Badal) sources said it was not that the party was not eager to field woman candidates, but the response from that side was not enthusiastic.
Maintaining the tradition, the Akali Dal (Amritsar) and the BJP, among other parties in Punjab, preferred men candidates. These parties did not field any woman in the 1999 poll also. — PTI
Ex-bureaucrat vs exserviceman
Shimla, April 4
An officer of the state administrative service, Mr Kashyap who has been close to the previous Dhumal regime, obtained premature retirement to contest the elections. He has been at the receiving end ever since the Congress came to power.
Though new to politics, Mr Kashyap is following the footsteps of his father-in-law Balak Ram, who ended the Congress monopoly by winning the Shimla seat as a Janata Party candidate in 1977. Naturally, he is banking on the legacy of Mr Balak Ram to dislodge Dr Shandil from the seat which had all along remained a Congress stronghold. The extent to which the Congress had dominated the electoral arena could be judged from the facts that it won the seat 11 out of the 13 times since 1952 when the first General Election was held. It was only Mr Balak Ram who, riding the Janata wave, interrupted the winning spree of the Congress in 1977. However, the opposition triumph turned out to be short-lived and the Congress wrested the seat in 1980. Its dominance continued as its candidate, Mr K.D.Sultanpuri, won the seat continuously up to 1998 six times. It lost the seat in 1999 when Mr Sultanpuri was denied party ticket.
Again, it was the Kargil wave which enabled Dr Shandil to emerge victorious as the combined candidate of the coalition partners, the BJ P and the HVC which joined hands to form a non-Congress government in the state in the wake of a hung Assembly. In short ,the BJP has not won the seat on its own to date.
Dr Shandil won the seat with a comfortable margin, securing lead in 14 out of the total 17 Assembly segments falling under the constituency. The situation has since undergone a complete change. The BJP and the HVC have parted ways. The two contested the Assembly poll independently. While the BJP could win only three out of the 17 Assembly seats, the HVC drew a blank. Dr Shandil is the Congress candidate this time.
It remains to be seen whether or not the strategy of the BJP to field a former bureaucrat against a former army officer works in the electoral arena.
Kolkata, April 4
Former Miss India and ace swimmer Nafisa Ali and film actress Moushumi Chatterjee have thrown their hat into the ring on the Congress ticket from these two seats. Nafisa, who has also acted in a number of Hindi films, including “Junoon”, was pitted against the firebrand Nationalist Trinamool Congress chief and Union Minister Mamata Banerjee in the Calcutta (South) constituency.
Moushumi, who won the hearts of Bengali cinegoers with her debut film “Balika Badhu” in the seventies, would challenge Trinamool veteran and former Union Minister Ajit Kumar Panja in Calcutta (North-East).
Nafisa, whose candidature was announced by AICC earlier, has already launched her campaign in the constituency, while Moushumi was expected to arrive here from Mumbai anytime to take the plunge into electoral politics. — PTI
Nasik, April 4
The Nandurbar constituency, reserved for scheduled tribe in tribal dominated north Maharashtra, is a known Congress bastion.
This year, after the Congress-NCP alliance, the seat has been left for the Congress which has given ticket to Manikrao Hodlya Gavit, who has won the seat for six consecutive times since 1984 to 1999.
In 1999, Gavit won by 3,18,338 votes defeating his nearest NCP and BJP rivals Govind Vasave and Kunvarsingh Valvi, respectively.
BJP, which started fielding its candidate in the constituency since 1980, has pitted a new face this time — Dr Suhas Natavadkar, son of Jayant Natavadkar, who was elected in 1952 elections from Nandurbar on Congress ticket.
The main tussel is between Gavit and Natavadkar even as BSP has fielded Babulal Rupsingh Naik, Bhartiya Bahujan Mahasangh has chosen Tukaram Thakar and Lok Rajya Party has fielded Sobaji Gavit for the same constituency. — PTI
Shrinagar, Uttaranchal, April 4
Announcing this here today, party state committee member Kailash Pande said Purshottam Sharma was the nominee for the Almoraha-Pithoragarh seat, while Bahadur Singh Jangi would contest from Nainital.
To a question, Mr Pande said the party would contest 70 Lok Sabha seats across the country. — UNI
VARUN DISPLEASED AT MODI’S