Party worried about anti-incumbency wave; only winnable candidates to be fielded; BJP may release names a day before nomination
Chronicle Reporter, Bhopal, On the one hand the BJP is considering to give tickets only to winnable candidates and on the other pressure in increasing within the party to give tickets to only local persons.
In its preliminary estimates the party has already said that in view of the anti-incumbency wave the party would not give tickets to 40% of sitting MPs in view of their poor performance during their tenure. BJP would not rush to give tickets this time.
A senior party functionary said to stop rebellion in the party, the name of candidate could be announced only a day before the last date of filing nomination. The first phase election will be held on April 29 and so the names of candidates for first phase would be declared first.
Meanwhile some leaders are supporting the idea of fielding local persons in the election. They feel this would help to check infighting and factionalism. Veteran party leader Babulal Gaur said former minister Umashankar Gupta and he are in favour of fielding local candidate.
Ticket aspirants from Bhopal
Close on the heels of the announcement of Lok Sabha elections, the Madhya Pradesh unit of the BJP is facing a new challenge as several party leaders have publicly started demanding tickets for themselves or their relatives.
The ticket-seekers include those who were denied tickets or lost in the recent state polls and veterans who felt sidelined during the long rule of the BJP in the state and have started speaking out after the Congress came to power.
There are many claimants for the Bhopal Parliamentary seat. Leading the pack is former chief minister Babulal Gaur. I have been an MLA for many terms and want to become an MP once, Gaur said, claiming that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recommended his case.
The octogenarian was referring to the Prime Minister saying “Ek bar aur, Babulal Gaur” when they exchanged greetings during an event in Bhopal last year. Click here for more election news
Former state home minister Umashankar Gupta, who lost the recent Assembly elections, called on Gaur at his residence on recently. After the meeting, Gupta said he was ready to contest from Bhopal and added that only a local candidate should be fielded from the seat. Sitting MP Alok Sanjar is hoping for a ticket again.
Apart from Umashankar Gupta and Babulal Gaur other ticket seekers from Bhopal include MP Alok Sanjar, mayor Alok Sharma and BJP state vice president Vijesh Lunawat.
BJP veteran Raghunanandan Sharma alleged that he was promised a ticket from Mandsaur in the 2014 election, but was later ignored. They should have taken me into confidence if they wanted to field someone else.
This time I am ready to contest from anywhere, including Mandsaur, but I won’t go with a begging bowl, he told. Responding to speculation that Chouhan might contest the polls, he said he has been MLA, MP and CM for a long time. It’s time he works to strengthen the organisation and lets others contest.
Former Finance Minister Raghavji, who was sacked after he was charged with sodomy, has sought a ticket for his daughter Jyoti Shah from Vidisha. Sitting MP and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has opted out of the contest this time, citing health reasons. BJP lost Vidisha (Assembly seat) after 46 years. Obviously, the party’s stock is falling. If you field an outsider, it would be difficult for the party to win, he said.
Former BJP MLA R D Prajapati has written an open letter, seeking ticket from Tikamgarh, now represented by Veerendra Khatik. “He is an outsider. Whoever contested won in 2014,’’ he said, claiming that caste equations are in his favour.
Leader of Opposition in Assembly Gopal Bhargava said the matter was not important enough for him to comment.