Lok Sabha polls: new faces in the fray for BJP as lobbying intensifies

The city unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party is experiencing a tussle for the party ticket from the city for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Written by Khushboo Sandhu | Chandigarh | Published: January 18, 2009 12:47:22 am

The city unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is experiencing a tussle for the party ticket from the city for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

While it earlier appeared to be a one horse race with former parliamentarian Satya Pal Jain as the sole contender,a number of leaders have now started lobbying for the ticket.

BJP leader Hira Lal Mahajan has been camping in Delhi for over a month and has reportedly held talks with the party high command.

Mahajan advocates that the party needs a new face.

“A look at the elections in various states shows that people have come out to vote in large numbers. They need a change. The rest will be the decision of the party high command,” adds Mahajan.

Ravi Prakash Kansal,member of the state executive and in-charge of the traders’ cell has also been staking his claim to the ticket. Kansal claims to have met senior leaders including Rajnath Singh,Arun Jaitely and Venkiah Naidu among others.

“The in-charge of the traders’ cell at the national level has recommended my name to the party high command. For the last decade,BJP has seen losses in the city. Under Satya Pal Jain’s leadership we lost the elections to the Beopar Mandal,Market Committee,Municipal Corporation as well as Panjab University,” said Kansal while adding,“Earlier there was no other candidate who could project himself. Now new faces are coming up.”

General Secretary of the party unit Sanjay Tandon’s name is also doing the rounds as a section of the party is apparently lobbying for him in Delhi.

A late addition to the list of probables is BJP parliamentarian from Hoshiarpur,Avinash Rai Khanna. With Hoshiarpur becoming a reserved constituency post-delimitation,Khanna was reportedly eyeing the Anandpur Sahib constituency. The ticket was,however,given to Dr D S Cheema. There is intense speculation that Khanna may now consider contesting from the city.

Satya Pal Jain has won the Lok Sabha seat twice from the city in 1996 and 1998. While the voting percentage for the party was 39.05 per cent in 1996,it increased marginally to about 42 per cent in 1998. In 1999,when K L Sharma lost to Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal,the BJP had polled 45 per cent while in 2004 when Jain contested,the voting percentage in favour of the party was 35 per cent.

Kiran Ghai,national general secretary of the party and co-incharge of BJP affairs in the city will be in Chandigarh on Sunday for a party meeting. This will be followed by a meeting of the election committee following which a panel of names is likely to be finalised and sent to the party high command for the final decision.

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