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Posted at: Apr 21, 2019, 8:03 PM; last updated: Apr 22, 2019, 7:19 AM (IST)

BJP fields Hardeep Puri from Amritsar; names 4 candidates for Delhi

BJP fields Hardeep Puri from Amritsar; names 4 candidates for Delhi
Hardeep Puri. File photo

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 21

Union Minister Hardeep Puri is the BJP candidate in the prestigious Amritsar constituency for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Puri’s name was announced in the 23rd list of seven candidates declared by the BJP Central Election Committee on Sunday that also included four sitting MPs from Delhi, Shankar Lalwani from Indore, Madhya Pradesh and Harinarayan Rajbhar from Ghosi in Uttar Pradesh.

Lalwani replaces the sitting MP, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan (76), another senior leader who has been benched by the saffron party this season due to the age factor.

Meanwhile, its Amritsar candidate, Puri (67) is a Union Minister of State with Independent charge in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers. A 1974-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Puri was inducted in September 2017.  

However, in his first Lok Sabha battle, Puri is expected to face a tough fight in Amritsar, a constituency which top BJP leader Arun Jaitley lost at the height of the “Narendra Modi wave” in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Currently, the seat belongs to the Congress, which managed to retain it also in the 2017 by-polls necessitated after the incumbent MP Amarinder Singh resigned to take over as the Punjab Chief Minister. His contest will be with the sitting MP, Gurjeet Singh Aujla of the Congress, and Kuldip Singh Dhaliwal of the Aam Aadmi Party.

Interestingly though, the BJP has not yet revealed its cards for Chandigarh, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur which  go to the polls in the seventh phase, for which the last date of filing nominations is April 29.

In both Chandigarh and Hoshiarpur, the BJP has sitting MPs while Gurdaspur is with the Congress.

In Delhi, where the last day of filing nominations is Tuesday( April 23), the BJP on Sunday announced candidates for four of the seven Lok Sabha constituencies, repeating sitting MPs Union Minister Harshvardhan from Chandni Chowk, Pravesh Verma from West Delhi, Manoj Tiwari from Northeast Delhi and Ramesh Biduri from South Delhi.

Suspense continues over three seats—Northwest Delhi, New Delhi and East Delhi—where Udit Raj, Meenakshi Lekhi and Maheish Girri, respectively, are the sitting MPs.

However, with the BJP finally declaring the name of Shankar Lalwani from party stronghold Indore, it has ended all speculations over who would replace Sumitra Mahajan in the prestigious constituency she has represented for eight straight terms.

Lalwani is the president of Indore Development Authority and his main rival will be Congress’s Pankaj Sanghvi. 

Mahajan has been winning the seat since 1989 and it will be after 30 years later that Indore voters will get a new MP.

The BJP was considering giving the Ghosi constituency to its UP ally Suheldev Bharariya Samaj Party but finally announced its candidate from there after not reaching an understanding with it.

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