BJP redraws UP strategy, firefights dissent
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be announcing the names of another 100 candidates in poll-bound UP, also 50 candidates in Manipur on Thursday after the CEC meeting of the party, sources said.
The meeting was scheduled on Tuesday; however, sources claimed that the grand alliance between Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress resulted in its postponement.
It is also believed that the new list would focus on ‘Purvanchal’ (East UP) as it has always been the focal point of all poll strategies and is also the most populous region of the state.
It has four major economic zones, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Mirzapur and Azamgarh and is represented by 30 Lok Sabha MPs (including Prime Minister Narendra Modi).
Moreover, the ‘Hindutva’ factor is a decisive force in this region and BJP gained its maximum vote share from here during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
There are reports that Raghuraj Pratap Singh (Raja Bhaiya), an independent MLA and minister in Akhilesh Yadav’s cabinet and one of the most prominent Thakur faces in UP politics is all set to join BJP ahead of the Assembly polls.
Singh (Raja Bhaiya) has an old BJP connection. He shares a very good rapport with Union Minister Rajnath Singh. He was also a member of Rajnath Singh’s cabinet when BJP was in power in the state.
BJP sources also claimed that saffron party is all set to redraw it’s UP strategy as the alliance between SP-Congress has given a new twist in UP politics. Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s firm “no to family members” of party men contesting polls, there are some sons and daughters of leaders who are in the queue.
Meanwhile, BJP seems to be tackling dissent within. The party brass held a series of meetings with sangathan mantries of RSS.
Even on Tuesday evening there was a high-level meeting between Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Varun Gandhi, party’s general secretary Ram Lal over ticket distribution, where Singh was reportedly miffed over the delay in declaring his son Pankaj as the party’s candidate from Sahibabad.
The BJP has given a ticket to former UP Chief Minister (and current Rajasthan Governor) Kalyan Singh’s grandson Sandeep from Atrauli, while his son Rajveer Singh is an MP from Etah.
Meanwhile, BJP President Amit Shah on Wednesday held long meetings with top party leaders from Uttar Pradesh to finalise party candidates for more seats even as disaffected leaders and their supporters held protests against the choice of candidates in several constituencies.
Groups of party leaders and workers raised slogans at the BJP headquarters against party nominees while some others protested outside Shah’s residence.
Carrying placards and shouting slogans, a group of party workers from Gautam Buddha Nagar expressed anger over-allotment of tickets to defectors from other parties and ignoring claims of loyalists.
Senior party leaders, however, played it down, saying such protests are common and understandable during ticket distribution process.
“It in a way also shows that BJP is being seen as a winner and that is why there are so many contenders for its ticket,” a leader said.