Moments after the BJPs central election committee announced the partys first list of 67 candidates for the Chhattisgarh assembly polls on Sunday,loud protests erupted at the state BJP headquarters here. Supporters of state BJP vice-president Sachhidanand Upasne,who was denied the ticket from Raipur North constituency,publicly accused the party of taking a heavy amount to give the ticket to prominent businessman and spokesperson Srichand Sundarni.
Angry workers told television channels that all surveys by the selection teams had nominated Upasne. Still,he was denied at the last minute. He will have to be given the ticket. If not,all workers of the constituency will stop working, said one of them. The first and the last choice is Upasne. Woh nahi to koi nahi.
Upasne,a powerful leader here,has already indicated his desire to contest as Independent.
Nand Lal Lehre,block BJP president from Sarangarh,has already resigned from the party,saying,People like me work for the party the whole year but they give tickets to people who are close to big leaders.
BJP general secretary Shivratan Sharma took a strong exception to the protests,saying: Tickets are given considering all equations. We request the protesters to support the decision. These activities are not getting unnoticed. They may invite action.
The first list,announced by BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar in Delhi,came after weeks of deliberations and dissent. For the last fortnight,the party office here witnessed chaos,with workers from across the state coming in groups to oppose the candidature of many sitting MLAs. They raised slogans and argued with leaders.
Among the top legislators who faced dissent was Agriculture Minister Chandrashekhar Sahu,Forest Minister Vikram Usendi and chairperson of Chhattisgarh Beverages Corporation Devji Patel. The partys internal survey had also confirmed a wave against them.
While the party denied tickets to 10 sitting MLAs,it ignored the dissent against powerful leaders,giving them all tickets. We have gone ahead with the present team. There is no anti-incumbency factor, said Chief Minister Raman Singh,who will contest from Rajnandgaon.
No consensus was reached on 23 tickets; the party authorised its president Rajnath Singh to decide these in consultation with senior leaders.
The moves of Bastar king Kamal Chandra Bhanj Dev will also be keenly watched. He joined the BJP on an apparent promise of a ticket from Jagdalpur,but was denied nomination as the party went ahead with its sitting MLA Santosh Bafna.