Bansuri’s name in BJP’s first LS candidates list sprang surprise to many!

webnexttech | Bansuri’s name in BJP’s first LS candidates list sprang surprise to many!

Replacing Lekhi, BJP pins hope on late Sushma Swaraj’s daughter By Harihar Swarup Among the most unexpected entrants in the BJP’s first list of Lok Sabha nominees is Bansuri Swaraj, the 40-year-old daughter of the BJP’s Sushma Swaraj, for whom the late BJP leader was known to leave meetings at times, to rush to be at the bus-stop when Bansuri returned from school. The choice of Bansuri has taken many by surprise, including those in the BJP, not only because she is a virtual newcomer to politics, but also because the BJP top-brass picked up a newbie for the high-profile New Delhi parliamentary constituency. And it doesn’t matter that Sushma Swaraj was a protégé of L K Advani, who had opposed Narendra Modi’s projection as the BJP candidate for the PM post in 2014. It is clear that the BJP leadership is unhappy with Meenakshi Lekhi, who was seen to have lost ground in New Delhi after winning the seat twice, in 2014 and 2019. Given that women will be a decisive vote in 2024, wooed by every party and the Modi government going out of its way to underline “Nari Shakti”, the BJP appears to have been careful to pick a woman leader to replace Lekhi in the prestigious seat. In Delhi, the BJP has ditched four out of its five MPs in the seats for which tickets have been announced so far, with two names still pending (it had won all seven seats in 2019). The BJP appears to be plugging any loopholes given that the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress are contesting together in Delhi and, on paper, make a formidable coalition. With Bansuri’s nomination, the BJP appears to have set the tone for the polls in the capital. If she manages to defeat the AAP’s Somnath Bharti, who is himself a stronger contender, she will establish herself as a giant killer; with the victory to be construed additionally as a rap for AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal, who is an MLA from the New Delhi Assembly segment. So far, Bansuri, a practicing lawyer, has impressed, proving both confident and articulate in the few interventions she has made on the party’s behalf on TV. Those who still recall Sushma’s oratory skills will draw an easy connection with the daughter. The late leader, in fact, was only 25 when she first became a minister, in Haryana, and was among the top campaigners against Indira Gandhi during Emergency and after. Old-timers, especially, recall Sushma’s felicity in striking a rapport with women in villages, who don’t easily open up. One of her ways was to ask, generally, in a crowd. “Are there women here named Kaushalya (a reference to lord Ram’s mother in the Ramayan)?” Several hands would go up automatically. Then she would ask if there were women called Sumitra (Lakshman’s mother). When hands went up again, Sushma would let drop: “Is there anyone who has named her daughter Kaikeyi (Dashrath’s third wife, besides Kaushalya and Sumitra, who manipulated her husband to banish Lord Ram to exile, and make her own son Bharat the king)?” When the answer came back with a resounding ‘No”, Sushma would let the penny drop. Indira Gandhi had behaved like Kaikeyi, she would imply to “enthrone” her son Sanjay at the cost of others. The audience would nod in appreciation. While Sushma contested elections from many parts, including Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh and more famously Bellary in Karnataka taking on Sonia Gandhi in her first- ever polls—she is remembered as well, for her short stint as CM. In 2019, an ailing Sushma did opt for a ticket for the Lok Sabha election. She died soon after in August 2019. Whatever the number entails, BJP leaders point out, what it all boils down to is winnability, and winnability alone. That is why 42 sitting MPs have been dropped in the first list of 195 names. And, that is why many sitting MPs who were facing the party’s ire have got a ticket again in UP. (IPA Service)

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