New Delhi: Punjabi folk and Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans has been named by the Bharatiya Janata Party as its candidate for the North West Delhi (SC reserved) seat. He has replaced sitting MP Udit Raj, who has since decided to leave the BJP.
Hans’s name was announced by the BJP on the last day to file nominations. On Sunday, the party had declared the names of four sitting MPs – Harsh Vardhan from Chandni Chowk, Ramesh Bidhuri from South Delhi, Parvesh Verma from West Delhi and Manoj Tiwari from North East Delhi.
On Monday evening, it followed up by announcing the names of New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi from the same seat and cricketer Gautam Gambhir from East Delhi. Gambhir was the lone change till then, stepping in place of sitting MP and social activist Maheish Girri.
Hans is the second new face for the BJP in this Lok Sabha elections in Delhi. In politics, he is a widely-travelled man – having started with the Akali Dal, before shifting to the Congress and then finally joining the BJP in 2016. He will contesting against Rajesh Lilothia of the Congress and Gugan Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party.
For Udit Raj, who merged his Indian Justice Party with the BJP in February 2014, his fall was as dramatic as the rise.
Prior to his joining the BJP, he was better known as a man who raised issues pertaining to Dalit rights. Though he merged his party, he continues to be the national chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations. He is also a former Indian Revenue Service officer.
After the BJP announced Hans as the candidate for the seat, Raj threatened to quit the party. His supporters raised slogans outside the Delhi Pradesh BJP office.
‘Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi warned me’
Raj also told NDTV that “Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal had warned me” that he would not get the ticket.
He also tweeted that since he has been denied the ticket, he would bid adieu to the party.
I am waiting for ticket if not given to me I will do good bye to party
— Chowkidar Dr. Udit Raj, MP (@Dr_Uditraj) April 23, 2019
He also told the channel: “…The party seems to have left me. Arvind Kejriwal called me yesterday, I called him today. He had warned me four months ago I won’t get a ticket, so we were discussing about it. Rahul Gandhi also met me in parliament. He told me you’re in the wrong party, leave it. So I was just remembering those days when they all had warned me. But I was honest and upright and believed too much in the party then.”
The Dalit leader also complained about being ignored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah who, he said, did not respond to his pleas for the ticket.
Raj also claimed that he was among the best performing MPs and asked: “Is being a best performer a negative point? The BJP needs Dalit support, but it does not want Dalit leaders. I happened to be a Dalit leader, a best performer.”