Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had his way in the selection of candidates for Lok Sabha seats from his state.
The BJP’s central election committee, which met on Tuesday to finalise Lok Sabha candidates in eight states, ultimately gave in to Modi’s insistence that 10 of the 12 sitting BJP MPs be dropped, since their performance had been below par and they were unlikely to be re-elected.
The party announced nominees for 21 of the 26 seats after the meeting. Of these 19 were fresh faces. Of the 12 sitting MPs, only Mansukhbhai Vasava from Bharuch and Harin Pathak from Ahmedabad (East) were able to get renominated.
Modi even had reservations about Pathak, a former minister in the Vajpayee government, but in this case he was overruled.
Those denied tickets included Kashiram Rana and Vallabhai Kataria, who too had been ministers under Vajpayee, but who had openly backed the dissidents opposed to Modi during the last assembly poll in December 2007. Despite the dissidents, Modi had scored a thumping victory then.
Even Bhavsinh Rathor, a sitting Congress MLA who wanted a Lok Sabha from Patan, and defected to the BJP just last week when the Congress refused to give him one, got the BJP ticket he desired because Modi wanted it.
Prominent names among those nominated from other parts of the country were Shatrughan Sinha, who got the Patna seat he had been lobbying hard for; former union ministers from Bihar, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Shahnawaz Husain, who got the Saran and Bhagalpur seats respectively and Gopinath Munde from Maharashtra who got his traditional Beed seat.