India Elections : BJP fields Jethmalani for RS Polls

BJP on Sunday nominated eminent lawyer and former Union Minister Ram Jethmalani from Rajasthan for the Rajya Sabha elections. A statement from BJP said that party president Nitin Gadkari has nominated 87-year-old Mr Jethmalani for the second seat from Rajasthan.

Mr Jethmalani had recently written to LK Advani expressing his desire to join the party and represent it in Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh. Jethmalani had unsuccessfully contested the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Lucknow against senior BJP leader and the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Though he stood as an Independent, Mr Jethmalani was supported by the Congress.

BJP, which has been strongly advocating quick implementation of the death penalty against Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, may find itself on a sticky wicket since Mr Jethmalani has earlier argued in Rajya Sabha that his sentence should be commuted to life imprisonment. BJP has been accusing the UPA government of not carrying out the death sentence against Afzal for votebank politics and appeasement of minorities.

Mr Jethmalani had served as a Union minister in NDA government. Mr Jethmalani, an independent MP, joined the BJP-led NDA ministry in 1998 and then again in October 1999. However, he quit the Vajpayee government in July 2000.

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