Lobbying in BJP intensifies for three Punjab LS seats
Lobbying has intensified within Bhartiya Janata Party for the three Lok Sabha seats of Amritsar Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur that are up for grabs in this year's general election.
Probable candidates have arrived in Delhi to strengthen their claims.
The BJP has convened its National Council meeting here on January 18 and 19 to chalk out strategy for upcoming Lok Sabha polls 2014.
The BJP is taking the three urban seats seriously and had been aggressive in its election related activities in Punjab.
Out of 13 Lok Sabha seats, 10 will be contested by its alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and three by the BJP.
The party had taken Punjab as priority, which is evident from it's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addressed his first public rally at Pathankot three months ago.
The Amritsar seat is already with the party and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu is its MP.
The BJP had lost the Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur seats in the 2009 general elections.
Now, it not only wants to retain the significant Amritsar seat, but would try hard to regain the other two seats also.
As per Modi's strategy, the party would decide upon the candidates purely on winnability factor and the past performances of the sitting MP.
While Sidhu is still a front runner for the Amritsar seat, though there are reports of the BJP contemplating to field him from Delhi (West), another strong contender is Punjab BJP vice president Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina.
Though the names of Arun Jaitley and Punjab BJP chief Kamal Sharma were also doing the rounds, both have not shown interest to contest.
Under the circumstances, Chhina might end up being the party's choice for seat. He is in Delhi lobbying with the party high command.
In Gurdaspur, the BJP is likely to field cine star Vinod Khanna who had earlier won the seat twice, but lost the last time to Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa.
Khanna has shown an inclination to contest the seat. However, party leader Swaran Salaria, former Minister Master Mohan Lal and former state party chief Ashwani Sharma are also in the race for the ticket.
Now, the party will have to decide whom to field for the crucial seat which it had won since 1997.
In Hoshiarpur, the party has roped in popular Punjabi singer Miss Puja. Party candidate Som Parkash had lost to Congress candidate Santosh Chaudhary. Som Parkash is in the race for the party ticket. But National Council Member, Avtar Singh Sikri also claims the ticket from the seat a while there is third contender Vijay Sampla who had been trying hard to grab the party ticket for the seat.
It is pertinent to mention that BJP national organizing secretary Ram Lal had completed his whirlwind tour to Punjab and held meeting with Core Committees and visited Amritsar Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur to assess the situation.
It is learnt that had already submitted his report relating his assessment of the party candidates with the high command. He had met party's probable candidates also and even visited the residences of Sidhu and Chhina separately in Amritsar.
With the BJP's national executive is in progress while the national council meeting will begin on Saturday at Ram Lila Maidan, the candidates are in for meeting their top bosses and even the RSS leaders on the sidelines of the meeting.
The national meetings would ponder upon all possibilities of the candidates to be fielded for the LS polls and the BJP seemed to take lead to release its first candidates' list by the month end.
The delegates from all over the country are taking part in the meeting and top leaders to address the delegates include Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Murli Manohar Joshi, M Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari and chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhra Raje, Raman Singh and Manohar Parrikar and general secretary Mukhtiyar Abbas Naqvi.
(Posted on 17-01-2014)