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BJP avoids naming CM candidate in Chhattisgarh

November 06, 2003 23:49 IST

Though it has several hopefuls, the Bharatiya Janata Party has avoided projecting a chief ministerial candidate while releasing a list of 72 names for the assembly polls in Chhattisgarh.

The BJP has ruled out fielding a common opposition candidate against Chief Minister Ajit Jogi and also any alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party, led by former Congress leader V C Shukla.

Of the 72 candidates finalised for the 90-member assembly by the party's Central Election Committee at the end of three-day meeting chaired by party president M Venkaiah Naidu at the residence of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, nine belong to Scheduled Castes, 28 to Scheduled Tribes, 21 are sitting MLAs and five are women.

A prominent name is that of the Leader of the Opposition Nand Kumar Sai from Tapkara (ST).

"As part of our strategy, we are not fielding any of the four top leaders, former Union minister and state unit president Raman Singh, former Union ministers Dilip Singh Judev and Ramesh Bains, and Karuna Shukla," party spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters in Delhi.

Shukla, who is a member of the outgoing assembly and niece of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has decided not contest the polls but concentrate on campaigning for the party.

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