Over a dozen BJP leaders in Uttar Pradesh, including some MLAs, have defied party in-charge Amit Shah’s order to become paalaks (caretakers) and coordinators of Lok Sabha constituencies assigned to them.
The job of a paalak and coordinator involves booth management and ensuring coordination between the booth panels during elections. Their job also includes campaigning for party candidates.
BJP MLA from Hamirpur Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said she could not take the responsibility of paalak of Hamirpur Lok Sabha constituency because she herself wants to contest the elections from Fatehpur. “People want me to contest for Lok Sabha from Fatehpur. Therefore, I have informed the party leadership that I will not take responsibility of paalak,” she said.
MLA Dharmpal Singh of Aonla, too, refused to work as a coordinator of Aonla Lok Sabha seat, currently represented by senior party leader Maneka Gandhi. “I have refused to work as coordinator because I have to contest Lok Sabha elections from Aonla. I have requested the state BJP president to appoint some other coordinator,” he told The Indian Express. Maneka reportedly plans to contest from Pilibhit while the sitting MP and her son Varun Gandhi may shift to Sultanpur.
Naveen Jain, who has been named coordinator for Agra constituency, has also refused to accept the responsibility. “I want to contest from Fatehpur Sikri Lok Sabha seat, and I have requested the state BJP president to spare me,” he said.
Shah appointed party’s state secretary Baby Rani Maurya caretaker for the Agra seat, but she also appears reluctant. “I will speak to the state BJP president as I have requested the party to give me the ticket to contest from Hathras,” she said.
Mahesh Baghel, the appointed caretaker for Fatehpur Sikri, said he would give up the responsibility once the party names him the candidate from Firozabad.
State president of Kisan Morcha Vijay Pal Singh Tomar is also keen to contest from Amroha and has been appointed caretaker for the Muzaffarnagar seat. “I will talk to the state leadership to take a decision over my appointment as the caretaker,” he said.
These leaders also said that they were never consulted by the top leadership before they were assigned the responsibility of caretaker.
Interestingly, BJP caretaker for the Gautam Budha Nagar seat, Radha Krishna Bhati, has reportedly quit the party to join Aam Aadmi Party.