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Only BJP manages to keep its flock together

While the SAD and the Congress are facing large-scale dissidence over allotment of tickets, the BJP has succeeded in warding it off despite the fact that one-thirds of its candidates have been changed. Vishal Rambani reports.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2012 16:02 IST
Vishal Rambani

While the SAD and the Congress are facing large-scale dissidence over allotment of tickets, the BJP has succeeded in warding it off despite the fact that one-thirds of its candidates have been changed.

The BJP, which was termed as the “weakest party” before the polls, has emerged as the strongest as far as putting up a united front goes. After distribution of tickets, no rebellion has been witnessed in the BJP in any of the 23 constituencies where the party has fielded its candidates. The BJP has changed eight of its 23 candidates, including four sitting MLAs.

Though there are clear differences in the rank and file of the BJP over allotment of tickets, the party, which is under pressure to perform well, has managed dissidence quite well. The disgruntled leaders have not spoken a single word against the official nominees.

Ironically, former minister Master Mohan Lal, who after being denied ticket had voiced his anger, accompanied BJP candidate and state party president Ashwani Kumar to the election office for filing nominations. Similarly, BJP MLA Harish Bedi, who was denied ticket from Ludhiana North, is canvassing for his replacement, Parveen Bansal. BJP minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla is also backing the new candidate, Tarun Chugh, fielded from Amritsar Central, her traditional seat.

The party has also pacified the sitting BJP MLA from Batala, Jagdish Sahni, who had raised a banner of revolt by announcing to contest as an Independent after the party swapped the Batala seat with the SAD. Sahni has now decided to support SAD candidate Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal.

Despite widespread factionalism before the polls, which resulted in a poor response to senior leader LK Advani’s yatra against corruption in the state, the party has managed to keep its flock together.

Despite the anti-incumbency factor, the state BJP is optimistic about improving its performance in urban areas, especially after factionalism surfaced in the Congress after distribution of tickets.

Party leaders attribute the success in quelling rebellion to their poll management. They say the BJP did not replace many heavyweights. “Apart from that, we have given a clear signal to those denied tickets that they would be suitably accommodated,” party leaders say.

BJP vice-president and Punjab affairs incharge Shanta Kumar said, “Till the tickets had not been allotted, everybody was trying their luck. But now that the tickets have been distributed, all leaders are abiding by the party high command’s decision as members of a disciplined party.”

On how the BJP managed to curb rebellion, he said, “ We have conveyed to leaders who have not got ticket that it is not the end of the world for them. The party has a lot more to offer. We will adjust them in accordance with their performance and stature.”