The BJP could face a different contest in the upcoming assembly polls in Uttarakhand. Several leaders of the saffron party are upset on being denied tickets and are now threatening to contest as independent candidates.
Police have been deployed outside the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters in Dehradun to avert any untoward incident.
On Tuesday, supporters of three ticket-seekers gathered outside the office and shouted slogans that outsiders will not be tolerated.
The BJP on Monday had announced its first list of 64 candidates that included the names of 10 Congress turncoats and at least six relatives of party leaders.
The party, however, played down the rebellion. Spokesperson Devendra Bhasin said it was “obvious” that some people get upset when tickets are announced, and that the party would “control the situation”.
Former state president and sitting MLA Teerath Singh Rawat, who was denied ticket from Chaubattakhal, paving the way for former Congress MP Satpal Maharaj, said he will soon decide his future course of action.
Three-time MLA Vijaya Barthwal from Yamkeshwar was also dropped to accommodate Ritu Khanduri, daughter of MP and former chief minister Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri.
Barthwal said she was upset with the party’s decision. “I am free to take a decision (to contest as an independent). The party has ignored me but I will not let down my supporters,” she told HT on Monday.
In Kotdwar, the BJP gave ticket to former Congress MLA Harak Singh.
A strong BJP contender from this seat, Shailendra Singh Rawat, will contest against the party in this Rajput-dominated constituency. Interestingly, sitting Congress MLA SS Negi is also a Rajput.
In Nainital too, the situation is no different. The BJP has fielded Yashpal Arya, the son of a former Congress minister who only joined the party on Monday.
BJP leader Hemchandra, who had contested in 2012, announced that he will fight as an independent against the ‘outsider’.
BJP leader and former MLA Om Gopal also declared his intention to contest against Subodh Uniyal, a Congress rebel who has been fielded from Narendranagar.
Interestingly, Om Gopal announced his decision minutes before the party announced the first list of 64 candidates. Candidates for the remaining six seats are yet to be announced.
The scene at the Congress headquarters in Dehradun was also chaotic.
Party workers shattered a photo frame of former Congress leader Yashpal Arya who along with his son joined the BJP.
Arya was the state Congress president between 2007 and 2014, and a cabinet minister in the Harish Rawat government.