The surprise announcement of Shyama Charan Gupta as the BJP’s candidate from Allahabad Lok Sabha seat has left veteran leader Keshri Nath Tripathi, who was earlier given the ticket, livid. The party’s local units that had been protesting against outsiders being allotted tickets, also appeared to be angry but the opposition seems to be divided.
Talking to The Indian Express, Tripathi said: “Until now, Gupta was not even a member of the BJP. He has also not resigned from the Samajwadi Party. It is beyond my comprehension how the party could give the ticket to him.”
Gupta, on the other hand, claimed his soul and heart is with the BJP and that he had left the party only for a few years because of dispute with some leaders.
“I am not an outsider. I have contested on the BJP ticket before. Being in the party, I was Allahabad’s Mayor in the early 1990s. My wife has contested on BJP ticket. My son is a member of the BJP. I, too, am a member of the BJP,” he said.
Tripathi, however, pointed out: “He (Gupta) and his family members have in all lost seven times. I defeated him once in the Assembly elections. I certainly will have to think whether I should support him or not. I will hold a meeting with the party workers and then decide on the further course of action.”
Gupta responded to Tripathi’s anger saying he has “a lot of respect for Tripathi and have his blessings”.
District BJP president Ram Raksha Dwivedi said: “The news has definitely come as a surprise. I am getting several calls from workers expressing their anguish at the decision. They are not in support of allowing outsiders. As far as I know, Gupta is not even a member of the BJP. I can only try and make them understand that it is party’s decision and one should abide by it.”
The city unit chief, Shashi Varshneya, however, sounded more cautious.
“I am at Guptaji’s residence. Please don’t ask me how and why it has happened,” she said.
Another office-bearer of the city BJP, Shailendra Mishra, who had been leading the protest by the local unit against outsiders, said: “Guptaji is not an outsider. He is an old BJP hand, even though he had left the party for some time. As far as I know, he has taken the BJP’s membership. Our opposition to outsiders was only for those candidates who did not have good image. There is no problem with Guptaji’s image.”
Interestingly, the BJP’s local units have been opposing tooth and nail any possible induction of Nand Gopal Gupta Nandi, who had been ousted from the BSP and is reportedly seeking ticket from the BJP. Sources, however, claimed that a surprise may be in the offing for the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat as well.
Gupta, who owns the Kanha Shyam Hotel in Allahabad, and had made fortunes through the bidi-business, had got his son, Vidrup Agrahari, to join the BJP in January. Gupta had won Banda Lok Sabha seat on SP ticket in 2004 but lost from Phulpur in 2009.