October 31, 2013 3:46:01 am
Lack of noise and crowds is not a sign a political party would enjoy when elections are less than a month away. Those managing affairs at the BJP headquarters in Bhopal,however,loved the relative silence at its premises on Wednesday,after days of chaos,slogan-shouting and even fisticuffs by crowds of ticket-seekers,hangers on and those angry with sitting legislators.
The election committee,comprising senior leaders from Madhya Pradesh,finalised the list of probable candidates at marathon sessions over Monday and Tuesday,the time when the turnout at the ruling party headquarters peaked.
BJP president Narendra Tomar said the names would be announced after the central election committee goes through the list on Thursday in New Delhi,where the action has shifted. Tomar and party national vice-president Prabhat Jha said in a majority of seats only single names have been forwarded and very few seats have two or more names. Without giving much away,Tomar said the focus was on giving more tickets to youth and women.
The chaos at the party headquarters in Arera Colony and the residence of Tomar,a few kilometres away in Professors Colony,was quite unlike the headquarters of the opposition Congress,which mostly wore a deserted look.
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While the numbers need not necessarily translate into votes and,consequently seats,what separated the two parties in the run-up to the distribution of tickets was the faith reposed by their respective high commands.
The BJP headquarters saw protests,even allegations of sale of tickets by few activists who were eventually suspended,because the aspirants knew from the beginning that their fates would be sealed in Bhopal,not Delhi.
Not for nothing that the BJP for the first time realised the unrest and divisions at the grassroots. While the leaders maintained a façade of unity,the cadres engaged in unruly behavior,many a time coming to blows,in their attempt to show who they did not want repeated and who they rooted for.
The Congress headquarters on the other hand saw little activity in Bhopal because everyone knew that the candidates would be decided in Delhi. For all the talk of Rahul Gandhi formula in selection of candidates,the workers of the faction-ridden party believed their respective leaders would still have a say.
The opposition party had a tough time scotching rumours about factionalism and repeatedly issued press notes to convey that the process to announce tickets was not over.
State Congress president Kantilal Bhuria was rarely seen at the headquarters and so were other leaders. The party had claimed that it would announce tickets at least a month or two in advance. The process to file nominations will begin on November 1 and the party is likely to announce its first list in a day or two.
When the frequency of protests at the headquarters did not seem to abate,the top BJP leaders chose to meet at Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhans official bungalow,which is well protected,to hold the poll meetings. The Congress did not like it but could do little because its complaints to the Election Commission for possible violation of code of conduct did not work.
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