The Bharatiya Janata Party has sought to downplay the massive rebellion it’s been facing from disappointed ticket aspirants in the state. It maintains that the party would fight the assembly elections under the leadership of chief minister Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri and return to power with a comfortable majority.
“We don’t agree that the party is facing a rebellion from disappointed ticket aspirants. Nor do we have any information that they are going to float a separate outfit to contest the elections as independents,” said BJP’s national general secretary and co-incharge of the party’s state election committee Dharmendra Pradhan, adding the party would return to power in the state with a comfortable majority.
He, however, discounted the reports that a few dissidents, including several cabinet ministers who were denied party tickets, had quit the party.
Pradhan also tried to make light of the reports that most of the 30 dissidents had decided to contest the assembly elections as independent candidates and were toying with the idea of floating a separate outfit.
In a telephonic interview with Hindustan Times, he said the BJP would launch a rigorous campaign from January 15. Pradhan said the party’s poll planks would be corruption in the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, its failure to check the skyrocketing food prices and its perpetual indifference towards the resource-scarce hill state and all the issues relating to it, including development.
The BJP leader, who is considered one of the party’s key strategists, however, clarified that the “sole criterion for selecting the candidates for the assembly elections was winnability. Justifying the move, he said it was aimed at dealing with the anti-incumbency factor.
“The (winnability) criterion we’ve followed is based on an established fact that voters tend to loose interest in 40% of the legislators of a ruling party if it has completed five years in power”, Pradhan said.
Pooh-poohing the reports that the ruling party selected its candidates on the basis of a survey conducted in the state at the behest of party chief Nitin Gadkari, he said the selection (of candidates) was made on the basis of a close scrutiny carried out by the party of the performances of the sitting BJP legislators and of the reputation of ticket aspirants.
“Besides, the ticket aspirants’ social connect was also kept in view while selecting the candidates,” Pradhan said.
However, he didn’t agree with the opinion that the undercurrent across the state was in favour of the Congress.
“My observation happens to be totally different,” Pradhan said, adding that he attended “about eight public meetings of top BJP leaders like Rajnath Singh, L K Advani and others held in the state last month and each of these meetings drew huge crowds.”