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Yashwant son, Pramod daughter fielded

New Delhi, March 13: One of the surprises of the BJP’s fourth candidate list is the absence of former Union finance and foreign minister Yashwant Sinha who, sources said, has opted out citing his age (77).

In acknowledgement of his “contributions” to the party, however, his son Jayant Sinha has been fielded from Yashwant’s constituency of Hazaribagh in Jharkhand. He isn’t the only VIP offspring on the list of 75 released tonight, although the BJP regularly rails against the Congress’s “dynastic culture”.

Poonam Mahajan, daughter of the late Pramod Mahajan, will be pitted against the Congress’s Priya Dutt in Mumbai North Central. Poonam, a member of the BJP’s youth wing, contested the last Maharashtra polls and lost.

Jayant has an engineering degree from IIT Delhi and a management degree from Harvard Business School. In February, he quit his job with the Omidyar Network and joined the BJP which, under Modi, is scouting for professionals.

Jayant is part of a party-affiliated think tank on strategic studies and international relations, called the India Foundation, which recently hosted an event for Modi to discuss his economic outlook.

The BJP has revealed the names of 25 candidates in Bihar but not who will contest from Patna Sahib, now represented by Shatrughan Sinha. It seems the party’s Rajya Sabha deputy leader, Ravi Shankar Prasad, is keen on the constituency. Shatrughan is being persuaded to move to Delhi but has resisted so far.

With S.S. Ahluwalia getting Darjeeling, sitting MP Jaswant Singh, another former Union finance and foreign minister, is likely to try his luck in his home state of Rajasthan.

Ram Kripal Yadav, Lalu Prasad’s trusted aide who joined the BJP today, will expectedly take on his former mentor’s daughter Misa Bharati from Pataliputra.

Another recent defector, Chandra Mohan Patowary, a founder member of the Asom Gana Parishad, will fight from Barpeta in Assam.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s nephew Anup Mishra, a former Madhya Pradesh minister, has been nominated from Morena, and Uma Bharti’s confidant Prahlad Patel from Damoh. Sushma Swaraj has returned to Vidisha.

Shahnawaz Hussain, the party’s Muslim face, has been re-nominated from Bhagalpur while close associate Rajiv Pratap Rudy will take on Rabri Devi in Saran.

Former home secretary R.K. Singh, who joined the BJP with a host of former bureaucrats, has been fielded from Arrah. Giriraj Singh, a member of the legislative council and one of Modi’s most eloquent advocates, will contest from Nawada.

Of the five seats announced for Karnataka, two have gone to nominees of former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who recently returned to the BJP. They are Shobha Karandlaje and G.S. Basavaraj.