BJP faces 'veteran headache' in Uttar Pradesh
Two senior BJP leaders in Uttar Pradesh have revolted after being denied ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls. Anger is simmering among some other veterans too but they are silent for now.
Ram Vilas Vedanti, a seer and party MP in 1996-97 and 1998-99, Tuesday said he had given a 48-hour deadline to the national leadership to revoke the candidature of Lallu Singh in Faizabad and field him instead.
The Faizabad parliamentary seat includes Ayodhya, where the BJP and its allied groups hope to build a grand temple for Hindu god Rama at the site of the demolished Babri mosque.
"I have the blessings of the (Hindu) saints and I will take a final decision after two days on whether to contest as an independent or not," Vedanti told IANS.
He said he was not against BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and alleged that some in the "saffron fold" were conspiring to prevent the Gujarat chief minister from making it to the top post.
Swamy Chinmayanand, another BJP leader and a former union minister of state in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, is also upset after being sidelined in the party.
A former MP from Jaunpur, he wanted to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha election too. But the Bharatiya Janata Party refused to oblige him.
Chinmayanand too has served a two-day deadline to BJP president Rajnath Singh. He said that in case he was not fielded in Jaunpur, he will contest as an independent.
Both underlined that if they win as independents, they will support Modi as the prime minister.
Outgoing Lucknow MP and former Uttar Pradesh urban development minister Lalji Tandon, who wanted to contest from Lucknow again, has been forced to give way to party president Rajnath Singh, now the BJP candidate in the city.
A confidant of Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he was prime minister, Tandon protested initially but fell in line soon and is now canvassing for Rajnath Singh.
Veterans like Surya Pratap Shahi, Om Prakash Singh and Kesharinath Tripathi have also been sidelined.
While Surya Pratap Shahi, the state party president in the 2012 assembly polls, sought ticket for himself from Deoria, Lucknow legislator Kalraj Mishra has been picked for the seat.
He was in tears when the announcement was made.
Om Prakash Singh, a powerful OBC face of the party in the 90's, had pitched for a ticket for his son Anurag Singh from Mirzapur. But his plea was not accepted.
Instead, Apna Dal, a BJP ally, has been allowed to field Anupriya Patel as the Apna Dal-BJP candidate.
Kesharinath Tripathi, a former speaker in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, has also been edged out.
He wanted ticket for himself from Allahabad. But the party chose former mayor Shyama Charan Gupta, a Samajwadi Party leader who has joined the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha election.
(Posted on 25-03-2014)