BJP, which is eyeing 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state, will field new candidates for six seats where the party has never won. These include Sambhal, Mainpuri, Ambedkar Nagar (earlier known as Akbarpur), Ghosi, Salempur and Ballia where the party has fielded candidates who has never contested and some who had lost elections.
In Sambhal, BJP has given ticket to Satyapal Saini who is the party’s district president of Moradabad and is contesting for the first time. According to a local party leader, there are less than one lakh Saini votes in Sambhal constituency which is dominated by Muslims followed by Jatavs and Yadavs. Local leaders are worried about the result and have asked the central leadership to review the decision.
In Mainpuri, which is a SP bastion, BJP has fielded BBS Chauhan who is also contesting for the time. Party’s district president Shivdutt Bhadauriya does not know if Chauhan is a member of the party.
The party is hopeful that former CM Kalyan Singh’s campaign in Mainpuri can mobilise around 1.75 lakh Lodh votes in Chauhan’s favour. In 2009, the party had fielded Tripti Shakya against Mulayam who stood third. “Yadav are dominating and the Thakurs too are in good number,” a party worker said.
In Ambedkar Nagar, the party has given ticket to Hariom Pandey — another newbie and ignored former MP and senior VHP leader Ram Vilas Vedanti who was tipped to get a party ticket.
Vedanti alleged senior party leaders have sold the tickets in UP. Ambedkar Nagar is close to Ayodhya and Hindu-Muslim polarisation plays a key role in elections here. Senior party leader Vinay Katiyar had contested here in 2009.
In Ghosi, party has fielded former minister Hari Narain Rajbhar who is also a first-time candidate. Rajbhar had left BJP with Kalyan in 2009.
In 2009, BJP had left Salempur for JD(U) and its candidate Ravi Shankar Singh lost the elections to get fourth position. BJP has now given ticket to Ravindra Kushwaha, son of former SP MP Harikeval Prasad.
From Ballia, BJP has fielded former minister Bharat Singh who is also contesting for the first time.