In its seventh list, BJP announces Navneet Rana’s candidature for the contentious Amravati Lok Sabha seat

In its seventh list, BJP announces Navneet Rana’s candidature for the contentious Amravati Lok Sabha seat

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Navneet Rana, an independent MP and the incumbent legislator of the Amravati Lok Sabha seat, will contest on the BJP’s behalf in the Lok Sabha elections.
| Photo Credit: PTI

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday announced the candidature of Navneet Rana for the reserved Amravati Lok Sabha seat in its seventh list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

Ms. Rana, an independent MP and the incumbent legislator of the Amravati Lok Sabha seat, is a supporter of the BJP along with her husband Ravi Rana, who is the current MLA from Badnera (in Amravati).

The announcement now paves the way for Ms. Rana to formally join the BJP and contest on the Scheduled Caste (SC) reserved seat.

However, the Amravati seat has been a raging bone of contention within the ruling Mahayuti alliance as Ms. Rana’s candidacy has been fiercely opposed by local BJP leaders, particularly the party’s ex-Amravati MP and stalwart leader Anandrao Adsul, who was defeated by Ms. Rana in the 2019 General Election.

To compound this internecine strife is the vehement opposition to the Rana husband-wife duo of Bacchu Kadu, chief of the Prahar Janshakti Party, which is an ally of the ruling Mahayuti and National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Looming over all this is the controversy over Ms. Rana’s caste certificate, which the Bombay High Court on June 2021 had said had been obtained fraudulently using fabricated documents.

The Supreme Court, in February, had completed the hearing on the petition against Ms. Rana’s caste validity and is expected to pronounce its verdict soon.

Ms. Rana, a political neophyte, had won the 2019 Lok Sabha contest in Amravati after she was supported by the then undivided Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led by Sharad Pawar.

At the time, she had claimed she was a member of the Mochi caste.

However, the Bombay High Court, after hearing a petition challenging Ms. Rana’s claim of belonging to the Mochi caste, had observed that the MP had obtained her Scheduled Caste certificate fraudulently with the intention of obtaining benefits available to a candidate from such a category.

A Division Bench of the High Court had asked Ms. Rana to surrender her caste certificate within six weeks and pay a penalty of ₹2 lakh to the Maharashtra Legal Services Authority. After the MP challenged the HC’s decision, the case has been pending in the Supreme Court.

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