While Allahabad will see urban local body polls on Sunday, the possibility of infighting in the BJP affecting their chances looms large. The party has never won the Allahabad mayor seat. Recent messages over social media asking voters to go for NOTA rather than its candidate Abhilasha Gupta has senior party leadership worried. The message is signed by “senior workers of BJP Mahanagar”.
BJP Allahabad Mahanagar president Awadhesh Gupta said the letters were being circulated by opposition parties, but another party leader said the discontent among party workers were genuine.
A local party leader, on the condition of anonymity, said that denial of a ticket to senior BJP worker Vijay Mishra upset a section of the workers. Mishra is now contesting the mayoral election as Congress nominee. “The Brahmins too are not happy with the BJP,” he said. The party has sacked nearly 28 workers from this constituency, which, the source said, was a measure to quell dissent.
Abhilasha Gupta had won the last election to the Allahabad mayoral seat. Mishra was the BJP contender in 2007 for the post but did not win. However, before the Assembly elections this year, Gupta’s husband former BSP minister Nand Gopal Gupta Nandi joined the BJP from the Congress. And while Mishra was also a strong contender for the Allahabad (South) Assembly seat, Nandi got the ticket.
On Friday, deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya took out a roadshow in the Allahabad in support of Abhilasha. Other ministers including Siddharth Nath Singh, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Ashutosh Tandon and Suresh Pasi too campaigned. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will stay over in Bareilly on Saturday night to resolve “differences” among BJP workers over local body candidates in Bareilly, which will go to polls in the third phase, starting November 29.
The party has fielded chancellor of a private university Umesh Gautam as mayor candidate there. Here too local party leaders accused the top leadership of neglecting veterans and loyal party workers and going for Gautam, who joined the BJP from BSP during the Assembly polls.
“Party leaders had held a series of meetings with dissatisfied workers, but nearly 10 per cent workers are still not convinced. CM will meet them for dinner today,” informed a BJP leader in Bareilly Mahanagar unit. “BJP is hopeful of victory. BSP has fielded Mohammad Yusuf, who is a prominent businessman. Muslim votes could get divided among the SP and BSP.” Here too, the party is believed to have sacked 22 of its workers on charges of indiscipline.