Hans Raj Hans Replaces Miffed Udit Raj as BJP Candidate for North West Delhi
Hours before Hans Raj Hans was announced as the BJP candidate, Udit Raj had in a tweet threatened to bid "goodbye to the party" if not given the ticket again.
File photo of Udit Raj.
New Delhi: The BJP has picked singer Hans Raj Hans as its candidate for North West Delhi, snubbing Udit Raj who had threatened to leave the party if dropped.
Hans, a popular Punjabi folk and Sufi singer, joined the BJP in 2016 after quitting the Congress. He was also a member of the Akali Dal.
Udit Raj, on the other hand, had merged his Indian Justice Party with the BJP in February 2014 and later won the election from North West Delhi. The BJP won all seven seats in Delhi in the 2014 election.
Hours before Hans was announced as the BJP candidate, Udit Raj had in a tweet threatened to bid "goodbye to the party" if not given the ticket again.
According to sources, the decision to replace Raj may put off a section of the Dalits, resulting in repercussions for the party in the remaining four phases of voting.
Raj, who himself is a Khatik, shares widespread popularity among the Khatik voters as against Hans, who is a Valmiki from Punjab and will be seen as an outsider.
Soon after Hans’ candidature was announced, Raj said he has dropped the idea of contesting as an Independent candidate and that, in hindsight, he regrets his decision of merging with the saffron party.
“I am not going to fight as an Independent candidate as it takes time for a symbol to register in people’s mind to translate into votes. When I look back, I think I made a mistake by merging my party (with the BJP). I had faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, but I was wrong. All I can say is I am being punished for the good work I did as an MP. I was ranked as the second best performing MP,” he told News 18.com
Asked if he is going to quit the party, Raj said, “I am not quitting the party, but the party has quit me. I am being forced to leave the party.”
The disgruntled leader added that he had been admonished by several political leaders in the past about the consequences of being associated with the BJP. “Four months ago, Kejriwal had warned me saying I won’t be getting the ticket. On two occasions, Rahul Gandhi said to me, suggesting in a way, that I am a right person in a wrong party,” he said.
Raj, however, did not confirm if he is in talks with the Congress.
“I spoke in favour of the oppressed, that is why I have been denied the ticket. I am the fiercest voice on Dalits –I am neither deaf nor dumb. I could either fear the repercussions of speaking for the oppressed or be part of the mission,” he added.
Unhappy with Hans’ candidature over Raj, Congress worker Raj Kumari Sharma, said, “We have so many civic issues for which Udit ji fought. Now, who knows Hans Raj Hans? He is a singer from Punjab, how will he take forward the work that Raj did?” she said.
Members of the NGO, Puranvas Panchayat Samiti, Soheb and Rajendar Paswan, who were present at the BJP headquarters, said, “For years, the graveyard was considered illegal. Our MP helped in getting us an NOC for the graveyard for Muslims, but it was stalled because the Model Code of conduct had kicked in. Raj is a secular leader and he works for all.”
The BJP MP has been a vocal supporter of Dalit rights and had often taken views contrary to the party line, including on Sabarimala and 'Bharat Bandh' called by Dalit organisations last year.
Hans Raj will contest against Congress's Rajesh Lilothia and Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Gugan Singh.
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