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|January 11, 1998||
JD will field 150 candidates
The Janata Dal has decided to field Prime Minister I K Gujral from Jalandhar, ignoring the objections of some United Front constituents about the Akali Dal's decision to offer him the seat in the general election.
This decision was taken by the JD Parliamentary Board which also resolved to contest all the seats it fought in the last election. JDPB chairman Ram Vilas Paswan announced the list of candidates at a crowded press conference in Delhi on Sunday.
This means the Dal will contest at least 16 seats in Uttar Pradesh. The board cleared the names of 14 other nominees including Union Minister of State for Home Mohammad Maqbool Dar from Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir. The National Conference has already announced that it will contest all the six seats in J&K .
The board will meet again on January 17 and 18 to finalise its other candidates.
Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Left have opposed Gujral's candidature from Jalandhar on the ground that the Akali Dal, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, was supporting him. Replying to a volley of questions about the raging controversy within the Front over the Jalandhar seat, Paswan said the Dal had decided to field the prime minister and was neither seeking the Akali Dal nor the BJP's support.
Paswan said the decision to field Gujral in Jalandhar in no way diluted the Dal's stand of equidistance from the BJP and Congress and their allies. The Dal's Punjab unit, he added, had also supported Gujral's candidature.
He asked why the issue should be taken up at the United Front core committee meeting when the Dal had taken the decision. "If the BJP on its own decides to support Mulayam Singh Yadav in his constituency, does it mean that Yadav enjoys the support of that party and he should not fight from there?" he asked.
Paswan said the Dal would field about 130 to 150 candidates and this would be done in consultation with other UF constituents.
Asked about National Conference leader Dr Farooq Abdullah's announcement that his National Conference would contest all the six seats in J&K, Paswan said it would not be possible for the Dal to spare the Anantnag seat which it had held in the dissolved Lok Sabha.
In reply to another question about the Dal's decision to contest the Sawai Madhopur seat in Rajasthan from where the Samajwadi Party has already announced its nominee, Paswan said the JD candidate had bagged over 70,000 votes in the 1996 election, and his party was stronger in the constituency than the SP .
''The JD has the right to announce its candidates as other parties are doing and we are not being unreasonable in this,'' the Railways Minister said.
The other JD candidates are:
Bihar: Naval Kishore Roy (Sitamarhi), Ram Vilas Paswan (Hajipur -- SC), Devendra Prasad Yadav (Jhanjharpur), Dinesh Chandra Yadav (Saharsa), Sharad Yadav (Madhepura), Sukdeo Paswan (Araria -- SC).
Uttar Pradesh: Surendra Yadav (Khalilabad).
Jammu and Kashmir: Mohammad Maqbool Dar (Anantnag).
Lakshadweep: Mohammad Koya.
Rajasthan: Motilal Meena (Sawai Madhopur -- ST).
Gujarat: Chotubhai Bhasava (Broach).
Madhya Pradesh: Bimla Sondhia (Khajuraho), Chatrapati Singh (Sidhi -- ST), Dalpat Singh Pareste (Shahdol -- ST).
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