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Surprise! Surprise! Loser Eventually Triumphs Victor!

Having switched three parties since losing last LS elections as Cong candidate, Dalit leader Ashok Tanwar finds place in BJP’s 2nd list of candidates, replacing his own victor in Sirsa (SC)
Manohar Lal expectedly fielded from Karnal; Anurag Thakur retained in Hamirpur; two former CMs replaced in Uttarakhand


The world’s largest political party has shown us that it does not just spring surprises in its choice of candidates for elections, but also delivers shockers while naming chief ministers, deputy chief ministers, etc, before or after the polls, with a view to get the caste balance right based on its understanding of local ground realities.

After one such shock was delivered this week with the sudden and hastily delivered decision to replace Chief Minister Manohar Lal in Haryana with a younger face from a different caste, another shocker comes in BJP’s much anticipated second list of 72 Lok Sabha candidates released on March 13.

Surprise! Surprise! Loser Eventually Triumphs Victor!, LifeinchdManohar Lal

Considering the latest developments, one could have expected Manohar Lal to be fielded from his home constituency Karnal. But, announcing the name of former state Congress president and dalit face Ashok Tanwar, who joined the party just over a month ago, as the party candidate from Sirsa (SC), replacing incumbent party MP Sunita Duggal, from whom he had lost the previous 2019 elections as Indian National Congress (INC) candidate by a massive margin of over three lakh votes, came as a big shocker to many. It’s a gamble the party has apparently taken as part of its overall strategy of consolidating its non-Jat vote bank in the state.

Ever since Tanwar’s crushing loss to Duggal, his political career has been in a tailspin. Having resigned from the Congress ahead of the state assembly elections in October the same year, and not finding worthwhile opportunities elsewhere, he remained in near hibernation for a couple of years. He became a journeyman, thereafter hopping from one party to another before being netted by the BJP.

Tanwar’s frustration following the long layoff led him to Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee’s doorstep and he was inducted into the party in November 2021 apparently to chase the thought of making a foothold for the party in Haryana. It was never a workable idea, and soon enough he made another shift in April 2022, this time to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which was out scouting for known faces to chase its national convenor Arvind Kejriwal’s dream of making a dent in the electoral scene in his original home state, Haryana.

In a turn of events, AAP aligned with the Congress for contesting the lok sabha elections in Haryana, among other states, and Tanwar, in protest, resigned as Chairman of the state election campaign committee and primary membership of the party in January 2024, only to join the BJP soon after and be rewarded with a party nominations to contest from the same seat from which he had lost badly. In the process his 2019 BJP triumphant slayer became the ultimate sacrificial goat.

The BJP’s 2nd list of 72 party candidates for the Lok Sabha 2024 elections names among other its nominees for six out of the 10 seats in Haryana, 2 out of 4 seats in Himachal Pradesh, and the remaining 2 seats to cover all 5 seats in Uttarakhand. The party had made a clean sweep of all seats in these states in the 2019 elections, and is once again going solo there. For other seats in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and the 13 seats in Punjab, the wait has only got longer.

The party is awaiting formal sealing of a seat-sharing deal with the Shiromani Akali Dal before announcing its candidates in Punjab.

Surprise! Surprise! Loser Eventually Triumphs Victor!, LifeinchdTrivendra Singh Rawat

In Uttarakhand, having retained incumbent MPs – Union Minister of State for Defence & Tourism Ajay Bhatt (Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar), former Union minister Ajay Tamta (Almora-SC) and Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah from the erstwhile royal family (Tehri Garhwal) – in the first party list of candidates released earlier, in its second list, the party has replaced the incumbents in the remaining two seats.

Surprise! Surprise! Loser Eventually Triumphs Victor!, LifeinchdAnil Baluni

Former state chief minister and former union minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has made way for another former chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat for the Haridwar seat and former Rajya Sabha member and current party national media in-charge Anil Baluni has replaced former chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat for the Garhwal (Pauri) seat.

Another prominent face in the 2nd list is that of Union minister Anurag Thakur, who gets a chance to represent the Hamirpur seat in Himachal Pradesh for a 5th consecutive term, the first being by way of a by poll in May 2008.

Surprise! Surprise! Loser Eventually Triumphs Victor!, LifeinchdAnurag Thakur

Former Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal has expectedly been fielded from his home constituency Karnal, from where party incumbent Sanjay Bhatia is tipped to be named the next state party chief, replacing Nayab Singh Saini, who took oath as the 11th chief minister of the state a day earlier.

Apart from Karnal and Sirsa (SC) seats, the party has decided to retain incumbent MPs in Haryana – Dharambir Singh (Bhiwani-Mahendragarh), Rao Inderjit Singh (Gurgaon) and Krishan Pal Gurjar (Faridabad). The party candidate for the Ambala (SC) seat will be Banto Kataria, the widow of then incumbent MP Rattan Lal Kataria, who died in the last year of his tenure in 2023. The seat has been lying vacant since then with the Election Commission of India deciding against holding re-election because of the short duration of the tenure left.

In Himachal Pradesh, apart from Anurag Thakur (Hamirpur), the party has also decided to continue with Suresh Kumar Kashyap for the Shimla (reserved-SC) seat.

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