Infighting, picking right faces BJP’s top concern | india | Hindustan Times
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Infighting, picking right faces BJP’s top concern

With the Election Commission announcing dates for the Lok Sabha polls, BJP president Rajnath Singh has said his party is prepared for the upcoming elections and aims to win a clear majority on its own strength.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2014 00:23 IST
Shekhar Iyer

With the Election Commission announcing dates for the Lok Sabha polls, BJP president Rajnath Singh has said his party is prepared for the upcoming elections and aims to win a clear majority on its own strength.

But a confident sounding BJP faces twin challenges that could upset calculations, say insiders.

One, the party has to hurry up in finalising candidates. And they will have to be the “right ones” picked after proper scrutiny for every state crucial for BJP.

Secondly, the intra-rivalry among BJP leaders, which had shown signs of ebbing after Narendra Modi was declared the prime ministerial candidate, threatens to surface again.

All eyes within the party are on whom the BJP picks as its nominees in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which together account for 120 of 543 Lok Sabha seats.

According to party officials, issues on which the rank and file of the party seek clarity include that of Modi contesting elections from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, whether all BJP seniors will get to contest from constituencies of their choice and if fresh, young faces will get a chance.

It is no secret that patriarch LK Advani wishes to contest again. So does Murli Manohar Joshi. A plan to request these leaders to consider election to the Rajya Sabha was “sabotaged” by a premature “leak” by someone close to party leaders responsible for approaching the senior leaders.

Subsequently, both Advani and Joshi have maintained that they are firm in their decision to run the race. Advani is not happy that his name did not figure in the first list of BJP candidates for the Lok Sabha elections.

On Wednesday, the BJP chief condemned a news report that claimed Advani had reportedly made an observation at an internal meeting that Rahul Gandhi was right in his observation that BJP was dominated by one leader. The incident took place during the February 27 meeting of the party’s central election committee.

Singh said Advani had called him up to refute the report. “It was completely baseless. Being the president of the party I completely reject this news. I was myself present in that meeting. The issue was neither discussed during the election committee meeting nor outside the meeting.”