- The announcement comes days after she said won't contest Lok Sabha polls
- Ms Bharti, a 59-year-old parliamentarian, is from Jhansi
- The ruling party has announced candidates for 297 seats so far
Union Minister Uma Bharti was appointed as the BJP vice-president on Saturday, days after she decided against contesting the Lok Sabha elections to go on a pilgrimage along the Ganga.
The spiritual leader-turned-politician's appointment was among a slew of announcements made by Union Minister JP Nadda at a press conference held in the party's New Delhi headquarters. Other decisions related to supporting late actor Ambareesh's wife Sumalatha against the Janata Dal(Secular) candidate in Karnataka's Mandya and replacing leaders above 75 with younger candidates for the upcoming polls.
Ms Bharti, a 59-year-old parliamentarian from Jhansi, had said that would sit out the upcoming elections in favour of undertaking an 18-month-long pilgrimage. "I had announced this way back in 2016. If I had to fight, I would have contested from Jhansi. I can never change my constituency. People there are proud of me, and they consider me like their own daughter," news agency PTI quoted her as saying on Friday. The Union Minister, however, promised to campaign for the BJP until May.
Union Minister Sushma Swaraj had also expressed her wish to refrain from contesting the Lok Sabha elections on grounds of ill-health.
The BJP's decision to support Sumalatha came after she decided to fight the elections from Mandya against Janata Dal(Secular) chief Deve Gowda's grandson, Nikhil Gowda, as an independent candidate earlier this month. She was reportedly miffed with the Congress for giving the seat away to the Janata Dal(Secular) as party of their seat-sharing agreement in Karnataka even though her husband had won it on a party ticket on several occasions.
The senior parliamentarians who have been denied tickets for the upcoming polls are Shanta Kumar (Kangra in Himachal Pradesh) and Kariya Munda (Khunti in Jharkhand), who have been replaced by Kishan Kapoor and Arjun Munda respectively. Several veteran leaders, including LK Advani (91) and Murli Manohar Joshi (85), were deprived of their traditional seats in the first list of candidates announced by the BJP on Thursday.
The ruling party has announced candidates for 297 seats in six lists so far.