The Congress rebels who switched over to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) last year after a political crisis are finding it difficult to secure their favourite seats due to strong resistance from local ticket hopefuls.
Finalising candidates is a tough task for the BJP, which fears that dissatisfied leaders might join the Congress or contest as independents. Insiders claim the BJP is struggling to decide candidates for Narendra Nagar, Gangotri, Badrinath, Kotdwar, Dharchula and Roorkee constituencies.
The rebels believed that the inclusion of former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna and ex-minister Harak Singh Rawat in the BJP’s state election committee might help them choose their favourite seats but things seem to be not going in their favour.
Subodh Uniyal wants to contest from the same Narendra Nagar seat he was representing before getting disqualified for alleged anti-Congress activities but there’s buzz that he could be given ticket from Tehri, giving a jolt to his popularity and vote base in his former constituency.
“I have claimed ticket from Narendra Nagar seat and I am sure the party will take a decision in my favour,” Uniyal told Hindustan Times on Tuesday.
Om Gopal of the BJP has been an active leader in Narendra Nagar and is also claiming ticket from the seat.
Uniyal said rebels have an edge over ticket hopefuls and all the 10 leaders who joined the BJP have grassroots connection that the party high command cannot ignore.
Another Congress rebel MLA Pradeep Batra is seeking ticket from the same Roorkee constituency but former legislator Suresh Jain o wants to contest from the seat.
Bahuguna has expressed his desire not to contest election though his son Saket has claimed seat from Sitarganj.
“We are now part of the BJP and there’s nothing like-old Delhi or New Delhi. The party heads would treat all claimants alike. All those who joined the party have a strong cadre and holds prominence. No injustice would be done to anyone,” Bahuguna said.
He, however, rubbished the claim of ambiguity on seats of rebels. “The final decision on seat distribution is yet to be done. It’s too early to talk of ambiguity on seats.”
Congress rebel Shailarani Rawat was representing Kedarnath constituency where BJP’s Asha Nautiyal is also a contender. With buzz that chief minister Harish Rawat could contest from Kedarnath, the BJP will have to take a strategic decision to finalise candidate from that seat.
Harak Rawat, who was Rudraprayag MLA, is eyeing on some other seats.
The state BJP says it’s too early to talk on tickets.
“The party is yet to finalise tickets. It’s too early to talk about the uncertainty of rebels who are now with the party,” state BJP spokesperson Devendra Bhasin said.