The BJP top brass from UP Tuesday held a meeting here to discuss the party’s candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. BJP general secretary in-charge of UP Amit Shah, former state CM Kalyan Singh and national general secretary (organisation) Ramlal attended the meeting.
“Potential candidates for all 80 seats were discussed. If there was unanimity on candidates, single names were finalised, while a panel of names was suggested for other seats,” a source said, indicating that these names will be forwarded to the party’s central election committee to take a final call. The committee would meet on March 8 and March 13 to finalise candidates for several states.
Party leaders said there was no discussion on Narendra Modi’s candidature from the state as the central leadership would decide on that.
Sources indicated Modi was veering towards the idea of contesting from UP, with Shah publicly suggesting his candidature will boost the party’s prospects in the state. Party leaders indicated Shah is keen to get him to contest from Varanasi, currently represented by senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi.
There were also suggestions that Modi could take the fight to his bete noire Nitish Kumar’s camp by contesting from Patna. But central party leaders indicated Modi will contest from Gujarat to maximise the party’s electoral tally from his home turf. “There have been instances when senior party leaders have contested from two seats to boost the party’s prospects,” said a party leader.
At Tri Nagar, Smriti Irani centered her speech around Modi, with over 10 references in 11-minute extempore.