BJP vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and the party’s Uttar Pradesh in-charge Om Mathur have emerged as front runners for a ticket to the March 20 Rajya Sabha poll in Maharahtra, even as some ‘old guards’ lobby for the Upper House seat.
Tuesday is the last day for filing nomination for the byelection, necessitated by the death of former Union minister Murli Deora, who passed away in November last year.
Sahasrabuddhe is not only a senior leader from Maharashtra, but also the party’s prabhari for Madhya Pradesh and also the director general of the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini — an RSS affiliated academy near Mumbai for the training and orientation of socio-political activists.
Mathur, who hails from Rajasthan, was the party’s in-charge for last year’s Maharashtra election where the BJP emerged as the single largest party. He replaced Amit Shah — Modi’s trusted lieutenant — as the prabhari for Uttar Pradesh.
Sources said both of them are in the reckoning and are backed by different people in the party. Mathur is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi while Sahasrabuddhe is seen as a low profile leader whose sudden rise has grabbed eyeballs within the party circle.
Sahasrabuddhe was political advisor to Nitin Gadkari during his innings as BJP president between 2010 and 2013, while Mathur was BJP’s general secretary in Rajnath Singh’s team between 2006 and 2009.
“Two former Union ministers — who have been strong votaries of Narendra Modi since his Gujarat days — are also eyeing the seat. They are depending on their RSS-links to clinch the seat,” another BJP leader said.
The announcement of party’s candidate, source says, could be made on Sunday.