THE STATE BJP is in a fix over selection of the party candidate for the Lucknow Mayor’s post with a number of aspirants eyeing the job.
Dr SC Rai, who has completed his second term in the coveted post, is reportedly ready for another stint, if given an opportunity. But, he has not expressed his desire to party leaders.
Dr Rai’s proximity to Atal Bihari Vajpayee is well known. The possibility of the former Prime Minister coming to his rescue at the last minute cannot be ruled out, say party insiders.
Since Lucknow is also Vajpayee’s Lok Sabha constituency, the last word on the choice of the mayoral candidate will be his. However, Dr Rai’s age and poor health may go against him.
Leader of Opposition Lalji Tandon’s son Gopal Tandon is also said to be in the race. But, he denies it. He says he has never been interested in any post in the organization, or otherwise.
However, all office-bearers of the BJP’s city unit, 14 divisional presidents of the district and chiefs of almost all the party cells today gave a memorandum to former chief minister Kalyan Singh at his Mall Avenue residence. They demanded that Gopal Tandon be the party nominee for the post.
Whether the office-bearers moved the resolution and gave a memorandum to Kalyan Singh on their own, or at someone’s behest is anybody’s guess.
Gopal, however, reiterated that he would not be in the race despite the fact that there was ‘tremendous pressure’ on him to contest.On the other hand, another section of so-called BJP office-bearers and workers took out a procession and met Kalyan Singh at his residence, demanding that the party field orthopedic surgeon Dr PR Mishra for the mayoral poll. The processionists later claimed that Singh promised them that their ‘views and feelings’ would be conveyed to the Central Parliamentary Board. Dr Mishra has, however, never been even an active member of the party. His claim is based on the fact that his father, who was Congress MP from Salempur (Deoria), had resigned from the party to join hands with the BJP and its allies during the of Ram Janmabhoomi agitation.
Dinesh Sharma, a professor in the Commerce Faculty of the Lucknow University, is yet another eager aspirant for the post. But he, like Gopal Tandon, denies this. Dinesh has been president of the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha thrice, besides being chairman of the Tourism Corporation and member of the National Youth Commission.
Dinesh said senior BJP leaders asked him whether he would contest, if selected. He claimed he said ok and since then he had never met anybody in this connection.Amit Puri is yet another contender.
But there is hardly any chance for deputy mayor Abhai Seth, who is facing serious criminal charges in a murder case.