A holder of 60 of 80 parliament seats in Uttar Pradesh 10 years ago,the BJP is finding it tough today to identify candidates for all seats.
After several brain-storming sessions over the last six months,the party has so far been able to announce candidates only for 38. Of this,the first list of 11 candidates released in December,featured a majority of sitting members of parliament.
The party is in fact,struggling to zero-in on candidates names for various constituencies. Even in the eastern part of the state,the partys former stronghold,the leaders are finding it difficult to identify suitable candidates for Padrauna,Balrampur,Khaleelabad,Basti,Ghosi,Ghazipur and Allahabad.
The party is contemplating on the name of Dr PK Mishra,son of former MP Ram Nagina Mishra,for the Padrauna seat. What is planting a doubt there is that PK Mishra had lost the Fazilnagar assembly on BJP ticket.
The Basti seat,from where Sri Ram Chauhan used to win from BJP,has now become a general seat and the party is in a fix to find a candidate.
The parliament seat of former Union minister Murli Manohar Joshi and Allahabad,the assembly seat of Kesri Nath Tripathi,has also become a headache for the BJP. Similar situation prevails in the central and western UP,where seats like Agra,Etah and Khurja have question marks against them. The party has not even reached a decision for the Lucknow constituency,seat of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee,a prestige issue for the party.
A senior party leader attempted to justify the situation,saying,we are also looking at post election scenario.
Frustrated,a former MP said the delay in finalising the names has drained prospective candidates of their energies. They are shunting between Delhi and their constituencies instead of concentrating on campaign in their areas, he added.
The leaders also blamed the party leadership for their preferences in promoting either their family members or their own promoters.
Personal contacts are getting more weight than winnability. The party has already announced the names of Anurag Singh,son of Om Prakash Singh and Varun Gandhi,son of Maneka Gandhi,from Mirzapur and Pilibhit, pointed out a senior leader.
Kalyan Singh,he said,left the BJP persuading the party leadership for a ticket for his son Rajvir. Lalji Tandon is keen on trying his or his son Gopalji’s luck from Lucknow.
It is parikrama (sycophancy) and not parakram (strength),which sets credentials for the candidates in BJP these days, he added.
According to these leaders,this time it will be candidates who will win the election and not the party as the party in the state has not been able to come out of lobbying and groupism.
The leaders indicated that names like Prof Ramji Singh and Satyadev Pachauri have been recommended for Ghosi and Kanpur seat on the behest of a senior party leader,instead of Ram Iqbal Singh and Satish Mahan,who have a strong backing on these seats.
Refuting all allegations and speculations,party president Rajnath Singh said: The process of candidates’ selection is on. The names have been finalised for many places others would be announced soon.
Following the party-line,state president Ramapati Ram Tripathi reiterated: By the end of this month,names for most of the seats would be declared. He,however,admitted that the decision was deliberately being held back on a few seats in order to accommodate alliance partners.
The party sources,meanwhile,claimed that a meeting of the core committee was held in Delhi on February 18,in which the leaders have reached a consensus on the second list,which will be out soon.