In an effort to counter the anti-incumbency factor in Punjab, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is depending heavily on the feedback and suggestions given by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the parent organisation of all saffron parties.
RSS activists shout slogans during a protest against linking of the organisation with terrorism, at Indira Park in Hyderabad.
The RSS always plays a key role in the distribution of BJP tickets, but with the party ‘under pressure’ to perform well in the upcoming assembly polls, the parent body has become more active, sources said.
In its latest effort, the sangh sent its feedback in the form of “suggestions” about prominent ticket aspirants to the party’s national organisational secretary Ram Lal on Friday.
Reports of surveys conducted on the basis of feedback from RSS parcharaks have been prepared after a series of closed-door meetings held by the state unit of the sangh.
As per sources, the meetings conducted in Jalandhar and Ludhiana were chaired by RSS prant parcharak (state organisational head) Kishore Kant and prant karyvah Munishwar.
The sources said the RSS, which has a solid base in urban areas of Punjab had recommended the names of at least seven new faces to replace old ones from assembly constituencies such as Rajpura, Anandpur Sahib, Jalandhar (central), Abohar and Pathankot.
Sources in the Sangh Parivar said the report cards of candidates rated them on the parameters of social behaviour, political background, and most importantly, winnability.
Munishwar denied that the RSS had recommended the name of any candidate for the polls. “It never gets involved in the process of selection of candidates. But as the parent organisation, we do play an indirect role,” he said.
Party general secretary and election in-charge, Punjab, Jagat Prakash Nadda, talking to HT on the phone from Delhi, said the final selection of candidates was made by the party high command usually after taking feedback from various organisations, including the RSS. “The role and advice of the RSS are always welcome. Suggestions of the sangh prove useful while allotting the party ticket,” said Nadda.