Denied a ticket to contest the December 7 Rajasthan election, a BJP lawmaker has quit the party and announced that he will contest as an Independent candidate. Gyandev Ahuja, the BJP's lawmaker from Ramgarh, wants to contest from Sanganer.
Gyandev Ahuja, 63, hit the headlines in 2016 for his comments on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) during a huge controversy over a tribute on its campus to parliament attack terrorist Afzal Guru, who was hanged in 2013. The lawmaker had made a bizarre claim that "3,000 used condoms and 500 abortion injections," were found on the JNU campus. Mr Ahuja was later admonished by BJP chief Amit Shah for his remarks.
"The party dropped my name without taking me into confidence. I was not even told the reason why my name was dropped. On the advice of my supporters and family members, I resigned from the party. I will now contest the elections from Sanganer seat," said Mr Ahuja.
Mr Ahuja said that he had "demanded a ticket from Sanganer" after the sitting candidate was given the ticket from Ramgarh but the party refused him.
He says his main campaign agenda will be 'gau raksha' or cow protection and the construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya.
Several BJP lawmakers in Rajasthan, including a minister, have quit the party since last Sunday, when the party released its first list of candidates for the December 7 elections. The BJP has so far declared 170 out of total 200 candidates in the three lists.
Former BJP lawmaker Ghanshyam Tiwari, who had won from the Sanganer seat in Jaipur in 2013 elections, quit the party in June over differences with chief minister Vasundhara Raje, and floated his own party.
In Madhya Pradesh, which will also vote for a new assembly on November 28, three former ministers, Sartaj Singh, Ramkrishna Kusmaria and KL Agrawal, have defied the party and are contesting as Independent candidates after being told by their party leadership to withdraw their nominations.