Ujjain: Though the BJP is yet to decide on replacing sitting MLAs, ambitions of tickets aspirants are sky-rocketing. Iqbal Singh Gandhi is keen to quit as city BJP chief and contest assembly election. The problem is that Anil Jain Kaluheda, who is being considered as Gandhi’s replacement by the party, too is vying for ticket from Ujjain North constituency.
Jan Ashirwad Yatra has led to hectic parleys in city leaders. Sources claim that the fight for party ticket is turning bitter with every passing day. Secret complaints against sitting MLAs are being regularly dispatched to top party leadership. These plaints also favour those vying for party ticket.
Gandhi’s decision to throw his hat in the ring for assembly ticket is indicative of a new trend among BJP leaders. Most of them are keen to enjoy fruits of power instead of serving the party organisation. Kaluheda’s reluctance to be the new city chief on the pretext that his name should be considered on priority as party candidate from Ujjain North assembly segment too points to similar approach.
The party has pressed its entire manpower to ensure success of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Jan Ashirwad Yatra that was flagged off by party’s national president Amit Shah from the city on July 14.
However, Gandhi camp’s reluctance and his absence during crucial occasions were taken note of by party leadership. Gandhi and his associates also avoided bringing huge crowd for Shah’s meeting apprehending that high public participation could go in favour of Ujjain South MLA Mohan Yadav and hamper Gandhi’s ambition.
Several party leaders, off the record, accepted that the yatra launch could have turned into a major embarrassment for the party but for the support of government machinery. In stark contrast to Gandhi, Kaluheda reportedly spent a huge sum on yatra’s publicity. In fact, he had asked party cadres to install hoardings, boards etc with his photo and of leaders of their choice. He had also assured to reimburse all money spent by workers on such material.
It was his way of staking claim on ticket from Ujjain North constituency which is currently represented by energy minister Paras Jain. Sources claimed that after Gandhi tendered his resignation, party leadership prompted Kalucheda about his ascension as new president. However, the latter rejected it for the sake of ticket.
Contacted, Gandhi admitted that he has expressed his willingness to resign as City BJP president. He said that he wants to contest assembly polls from Ujjain South constituency, but final decision on both the issues will be taken by the party leadership. On the other hand, Kaluheda said, “I am a soldier of the BJP and would abide by party order as usual.” Gandhi is a two-time city unit president and prior to him Kaluheda had served in the same capacity for a term. When approached, State BJP general secretary Vishnudutt Sharma commented that there was nothing certain in politics. He also denied information about Gandhi’s issue.