From Rajagopalan’s email

NEW DELHI: The 75-year old former Uttar Pradesh Minister Lalji Tandon, who hit the national headlines during the last 2004 Lok Sabha elections for a stampede killing 21 women and a child in distribution of sarees as his birthday celebration, was on Saturday announced the Bhartiya Janata Party’s candidate to bat for the Lucknow seat won by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee since 1991, with him as the chief election agent.

He was again in the news in 2007 when an FIR was registered against him and BJP President Rajnath Singh for releasing an anti-Muslim CD at a Press conference in Lucknow during the Assembly elections, though the party wriggled out blaming a junior functionary putting the controvesial CD in the Press kit given to the Media without their knowledge. Tandon won the Lucknow West Assembly seat.

Failing to find any taker for Vajpayee’s coveted seat, the BJP leadership for quite some time looked for a Brahmin but ultimately decided Tandon, a Khatri, as the best choice as he is a local leader to know the Uttar Pradesh capital inside out and has been the chief election agent of the former prime minister for almost two decades.

Even former Union Minister Murli Manohar Joshi’s name was considered for the seat as he can retain the Brahmin votebank of Vajpayee, but he wriggled out by opting for the Varanasi seat.

Vajpayee had sacked Tandon as the convener of his election management committee in 2004 after a case of bribery and inducement of poor was registered against him by the Election Commission for organising distribution of sarees. Just around the Assembly elections in 2007, Tandon got a clean chit in the case from a Lucknow court as not guilty for the stampede killing 22, including a child.

Until Vajpayee picked up Tandon to help him in 1991 when he contested for the Lucknow Lok Sabha seat for the first time, he was a small-time politician and a municipal corporator who ran his family business of Chiken embroidery. He now also has roaring construction and automobile parts business in Lucknow.

It goes to the credit of Tandon to have materialised a coalition government with the BSP’s Mayawati as the chief minister back in 1995 by persuading Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani with the deal he had struck with her. He was an urban development minister in her government.

About janamejayan

A Viraat Hindu dedicated to spread the message of Paramacharya of Kanchi
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