Former BJP MP and senior VHP leader Ram Vilas Vedanti is set to contest as a rebel against party candidate Lallu Singh in Faizabad. Vedanti turned rebel after the BJP did not give him the ticket from Ambedkar Nagar seat which he had been seeking. The party has instead fielded Hariom Pandey from Ambedkar Nagar.
Calling both Lallu and Pandey “weak candidates (who) will lose the election”, Vedanti said his decision to contest from Faizabad was taken after a meeting with Ayodhya seers “who have gone to meet (BJP national president) Rajnath Singh to discuss the denial of ticket”.
“They (seers) will come back on Wednesday and if Rajnath does not give me a ticket from Faizabad, I will contest the Lok Sabha election as an independent,” said Vedanti, who has also indicated he may contest from Lucknow against Rajnath and will make a formal announcement on March 27.
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He is confident of Vedanti was Lok Sabha MP from Machhlishahr in 1996 and from Pratapgarh in 1998.
He had lost the election in 1999 from Machhlishahr against Samajwadi Party and in 2004 from Amethi against Rahul Gandhi. He was denied a ticket in 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
He accused the BJP of “sidelining leaders who were associated with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement”. “BJP is giving tickets to those turncoats who always opposed the Ram temple and criticised BJP for Ram Janmabhoomi movement,” he said, and added that he is confident about his win from either of the seats – Faizabad and Ambedkar Nagar – “because of polarisation of Hindu and Muslim votes”.
Vedanti further accused BJP leaders of being “involved in a conspiracy against Narendra Modi by fielding weak candidates in UP”.