Mon, 18 Jul 2022 01:51 PM IST
Jagdeep Dhankhar, National Democratic Alliance's Vice Presidential candidate, on Monday filed his nomination papers for the August 6 elections in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
"I will always strive to enhance the democratic values of the country," Dhankhar said after filing his nomination. "Never even in my dreams did I think a person with a humble background like me would get this opportunity. I am grateful to PM Modi and the leadership for giving a humble man from a 'kisan family' like me such a historic opportunity."
The BJP on Saturday picked Dhankhar as its Vice Presidential candidate following its parliamentary board meeting that was attended by PM Modi and other senior party leaders. The decision, however, was a surprise for many as it was being considered that the saffron party might pick Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Arif Mohammad Khan, or someone else for that post.
However, by nominating Dhankhar, political experts believe that the BJP is targeting Rajasthan where assembly elections are slated to be held in 2023. Dhankhar, a Jat leader with socialist background, hails from Rajasthan's Jhunjhunu and was closely associated with Devi Lal.
The 71-year-old, who was a Union Minister in Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar's government, had played a key role in getting Jats the Other Backward Class (OBC) status in Rajasthan. The BJP believes Dhankar can help him woo the Jats, who have a sizeable number in Rajasthan - 10 per cent of the state's total population.
"Whereas the BJP gave Vasundhara Raje who is considered married in to a Jat family and with the nomination of VP a message has been sent to the community that BJP is not averse to giving important designations to them," News18 quoted a senior BJP leader as saying.
In addition to the Rajasthan polls, the BJP is also eyeing Haryana where assembly elections will be held in 2024, shortly after the Lok Sabha polls. The Jat community - which makes up about 25 to 28 per cent of the state's total population - has dominated the politics of Haryana for years.
The BJP, before 2013, was considered to be a party of Rajputs, Thakurs, Brahmins, and Banias in Haryana. However, the saffron party changed its strategy in Haryana which helped it win two consecutive terms in Haryana - 2014 and 2019.