THE CONTROVERSY in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the selection of candidates for the Vidhan Sabha elections has refused to die down.
This has happened despite the fact that the election committee, which will formally select the party nominees and forward the names to the Central Election Committee for its final approval was announced only yesterday.
Even before the constitution of the committee, the state BJP leaders had announced that the party nominees were selected and this led to a controversy when some leaders, party workers and ticket-seekers blew the bugle of revolt questioning the authority of the leaders to finalise the list of the candidates ignoring the procedure laid down for the purpose.
In protest against the selection, a section of the party workers, including the ticket-seekers, decided to meet the Central party leaders and submit a memorandum drawing their attention towards the ‘injustice’ done to them. They said on condition of anonymity that the party had not learnt from the past experiences.
Importance was being given to ‘chamchas’ at the cost of genuine candidates who preferred to work silently. The senior leaders, they repented, were more interested in managing tickets for their followers ignoring merit.
How the saffron brigade has been functioning is evident from the fact that Lalji Tandon, leader of the Opposition in the Vidhan Sabha, said 150 names had been finalised.
But talking to reporters in Kanpur and Lucknow, BJP state president Keshari Nath Tripathi and Kalyan Singh put the number of the selected candidates at 200 and 250.
The party decided to select the candidates in consultation with grass-root workers. But the previous system of selecting them in closed- door meetings continued. Commenting on the controversy, Lalji Tandon said that a list of the probable party nominees had been tentatively prepared but a final decision on the names would be taken only after proper discussion at the Election Committee.
He reiterated that the party workers’ opinion would be the ultimate and no decision would be taken without consulting them.