In a bid to cripple BJPs chance to make any headway from Udhampur-Doda, the erstwhile Sangh veteran Prof Chaman Lal Gupta has fielded his son Anil Gupta. It has further improved Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad chances to make a clean sweep from the seat. Azad is filing his nomination on Tuesday.
After Modi’s Jammu visit, the BJP started mending its fence with the six of the seven ‘rebel’ lawmakers who were thrown out of the party for supporting Congress in legislative council polls earlier. While all were called back and their dignity restored, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta was not recalled. The party leadership believes that it was Prof Gupta who led the six lawmakers to support the ruling coalition.
Now Prof Gupta seems to be paying the party back. He has fielded his son Anil Gupta from Udhampur. Prof Gupta basically hails from the area and has represented the constituency twice in recent past. It was his mandate from Udhampur that he became MoS Defence in Vajpayee era. During that period, locals believe, Prof Gupta invested substantially in the town and enjoys a good rapport with the residents.
Anil’s vote share would be a net deduction to BJPs candidate Dr Jintendera Singh, who was chosen over Dr Nirmal Singh, the old party guard who missed his victories barely by whiskers twice. Dr Jitnedera Singh is one of BJP’s many national spokespersons.
Interestingly, Anil Gupta is so far the wealthiest contestant from Udhampur and Jammu seats. Alongwith his wife Amil Gupta has declared moveable assets worth Rs 2.77 crore in addition to immovable assets of Rs 2.38 crore. Being a businessman, he has some liabilities too.
Political observers say Anil’s candidacy in Lok Sabha is a mock drill for fielding a number of candidates in the state assembly elections. Guptas’ believe that if they create a pan-Jammu party that lacks an ideological baggage of BJP, it has the potential of sharing power with NC, PDP or even Congress – a choice BJP can never have. They created the party last year.