New Delhi : The tussle among the top leaders over the constituencies of their choice constrained the BJP on Thursday to defer a decision on key states of UP, Gujarat and Delhi. Rather, the party took a call on candidates in non-controversial seats.
Result: The constituencies of Narendra Modi, as also seniors like Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Rajnath Singh, Kalraj Mishra and Lalji Tandon will be decided in the next Central Election Committee meeting that may take place on Saturday or next Monday.
The ‘non controversial’ candidates cleared on Thursday included Lok Sabha Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh and Poonam Mahajan, daughter of late BJP strategist Pramod Mahajan, from Mumbai North Central. Mahajan will take on sitting member Priya Dutt, an AICC secretary and daughter of the late Sunil Dutt.
Party president Rajnath Singh chaired the meeting of the central election committee, which was attended by Advani, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, former president Nitin Gadkari and Modi.
An astute Modi kept his cool and did not intervene in the deliberations; nor did he indicate his choice of seats on which he would like to contest to make it easier for the party to move forward.
Former FM Yashwant Sinha replaced by son Jayant in Hazaribagh seat in Jharkhand
Also missing is name of cine star-turned sitting MP Shatrughna Sinha
Sushma cleared from Vidisha in MP, Sumitra Mahajan from Indore
Poonam Mahajan v/s Priya Dutt in Mumbai North Central
Cricketer Kirti Azad – (Darbhanga)
S S Ahluwalia – Darjeeling
Rajiv Pratap Rudy – Saran (Bihar).
In Ahmedabad, Gujarat BJP general secretary Vijay Rupani claimed that Modi will certainly contest from a constituency in Gujarat and, may be, from a second seat in Uttar Pradesh as well. He could be the candidate from Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot or Surat, the Gujarat leader said, ahead of the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting in Delhi.
BJP President Rajnath Singh, who was in the chair all day, presiding first over the parliamen-tary board and then two rounds of the CEC, was distraught and told leaders that a wrong message would go out if there is delay in announcing the candidature of key leaders.
To end unnecessary speculation, Advani’s advice was accepted to put off the entire Uttar Pradesh list to the next round. UP with its 80 seats is the most crucial state for the BJP and hence it was agreed to keep the list on hold. This is also because many senior leaders are angry with the manner in which Modi’s lieutenant Amit Shah has shortlisted the “winnable” candidates without consulting them.
BJP General Secretary Ananth Kumar late in the evening announced the candidates in the party’s third list, including 24 of them from Madhya Pradesh. It specially clears the suspense over Sushma Swaraj’s seat: she has been re-nominated from Vidisha, which leaves Bhopal seat for Advani. The Bhopal seat has been vacated by former chief minister Kailash Joshi. Sushma wanted to shift to Bhopal but agreed to contest from Vidisha.
Another important candidate in Madhya Pradesh is State BJP chief Narendra Tomar from Gwalior, while former Union minister Sumitra Mahajan will be seeking re-election from Indore.
With this list of 75 candidates, the total number of candidates announced by the BJP thus far has gone up to 181.
The party also announced five candidates from Karnataka but they do not include B Sriramulu, leader of BSR Congress, admitted to the party earlier in the day. He had claimed that he was getting Bellary seat. No candidate was, however, announced for the seat.
A total of 25 candidates were declared from Bihar including party spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain from Bhagalpur and Ramkripal Yadav from Patliputra. Yadav will take on his erstwhile Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa, but missing in the list was the name of cine star-turned sitting MP Shatrughna Sinha. Former Union Home Secretary R K Singh will contest from Arrah.
Former IAS officer Bhagirath Prasad who was named by the Congress for the Bhind seat, but rejected it and joined the BJP has been predictably nominated for the seat in place of the sitting MP Ashok Argal.