BJP lightweights fielded in bypolls

The BJP has decided to field the comparatively lesser-known Ranjan Ben Bhatt from the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat, vacated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to retain Varanasi.

The Vadodara Municipal Corporation deputy mayor will be pitted against city Congress chief Narendra Rawat in the September 13 bypolls. 

The other Lok Sabha by-elections will be in Mainpuri, necessitated as Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav vacated it in favour of the Azamgarh constituency. Prem Singh Shakya will contesting the elections on a BJP ticket here, in place of Shatrughan Singh Chauhan, who had lost to Yadav in this year's general elections.

BJP chief Amit Shah cleared Bhatt’s name given her proximity to Modi. Barring her RSS background, she is not even considered a significant political player in Vadodara.  Shah's decision reflects Modi's appointment of lightweights as Rajya Sabha members during the last few months of his stint as Gujarat chief minister.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, an elated Bhatt said, “I had not even sought a ticket for the seat, but the party felt that a woman candidate should be given the ticket. I am elated at being provided such an opportunity.”

For the bypoll to the Maninagar Assembly constituency too, small-time local corporator Suresh Patel, another political novice, has been given the ticket. This constituency, too, was vacated by Modi.

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