NEW DELHI

BJP starts short listing candidates

DEHRA DUN, MARCH 3. The Uttaranchal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has initiated the process of finalisation of its candidates for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

According to party sources, the state unit's election committee will meet here tomorrow to discuss the issue and is likely to send a group of three names for three out of the five Lok Sabha seats in the state.

The sources said for the other two seats -- Pauri and Almora-Pithoragarh -- there is one candidate each. They are the two sitting members -- Surface Transport and Highway Minister, Maj Gen B. C. Khanduri, and Minister of State for Science and Technology, Bacchi Singh Rawat.

The party has received as many as five names each for the two Lok Sabha constituencies of Tehri and Nainital. The probables from Tehri include Olympic pistol shooter Jaspal Rana, Manohar Kant Dhani, Lekhi Ram Joshi a former Minister, Aditya Kothari and the sitting member Manabendra Shah and the aspirants for the Nainital seat are Anil Kapoor, Balraj Passi -- former member, Bansi Dhar Bhagat, Vijay Bansal and BJP State Yuva Morcha leader, Pushkar Dhani.

The sources pointed out that the BJP is keen that Planning Commission Vice Chairman, K. C. Pant, contests from the Nainital Lok Sabha seat.

However, Mr Pant has not yet expressed a desire to contest the Lok Sabha seat.

Similarly, the party has received three names for the Hardwar Lok Sabha seat. They are Harpal Sathi, the sitting MP, Suresh Rathore, the President of the BJP Minority cell, and Dr Mamchand, a former MLA, the sources said. -- UNI