The seriousness with which BJP is preparing for the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh early next year seems to be missing when it comes to contesting the elections to the Legislative Council scheduled for March 3.
The party is yet to decide on probable candidates for the elections for which the last date of filing nominations is February 15. As per the sources, BJP is unlikely to get “winnable candidates” even though it has asked its eight regional in the states to send names to Lucknow headquarters before February 8 —- the date of notification for biennial elections to fill up 36 seats from local authority constituencies.
The seats had fallen vacant following expiry of term of the previous members on January 15.
Samajwadi Party has already declared 31 candidates for the elections in which members of zila and kshetra panchayats and village pradhans will be the voters. Mayors, corporators of municipal corporations, chairpersons of nagar panchayat and nagar palika parishads and their corporators, local MPs, MLAs and members of the Cantonment Boards will also vote in these elections.
BJP has a sizeable presence in urban local bodies, particularly the municipal corporations. Of the 80 MPs in state, 71 are from BJP and two of its ally Apna Dal. However, in the 403-member Assembly, it has only 41 MLAs.
BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpai told The Indian Express that names of the interested and winnable candidates have been sought from the regional units. “Party has yet to decide the seats on which it will support candidates,” Bajpai said.
A BJP regional president, requesting anonymity, said they are looking for “candidates with clean image” and “who have the financial capability” to win the elections. As per the leader, the elections have become a costly affair as it takes a huge amount of money and muscle power to win over the local body members. “The support of the ruling party is also required,” he said, adding that the party may also consider supporting those candidates who are interested to contest on their own, even if they are not members of BJP.
The party currently has only seven MLCs in the 100-member Upper House. Samajwadi Party, which currently has 27 members, is aiming to win over maximum possible seats —- it had won majority of zila panchayat chairperson seats in the recently concluded elections and also enjoys absolute majority in the Assembly.
BSP has lost the majority in the Upper House after expiry of term of its 34 members and it currently has 14 members. Congress and RLD have one member each, while Teachers Group has five and Independents four. At present 41 seats are lying vacant of which five are under nomination category. They are to be approved by the Governor on the recommendation of the state government.