The BJP’s ticket grievances, according to chief Rajnath Singh, is a routine affair, especially as everybody wants to contest this time because of the Modi wave.
Dismissing the controversy — in an exclusive interview with HT — as “quite natural”, he said, “You are hearing loud noises because the list of ticket claimants is longer than ever before, as the party has a better chance to win the elections.”
Singh, however, admitted that translating this wave into votes would be a challenge. “Since the Congress is facing a massive anti-incumbency factor, our entire effort is to see to it that the turnout is the highest this time,” he said.
He said he expected that the hope that Modi had generated all across India would draw people to the polling booths.
Of late, the BJP has been drawing a lot of flak from ticket seekers, particularly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, with several of them hitting out at the party leadership for accommodating ‘outsiders’ at the cost of party workers.
What’s more, last fortnight saw some serious protests at party offices in UP and Bihar after party-hoppers and Bollywood stars, such as Hema Malini and Kirron Kher, got preference over party workers.
But Singh argued that this was not for the first time that outsiders were joining the BJP. “Again, more people are joining because they know the BJP is going to form the next government. And tickets are being given only to those who have the best chance of winning.”
The ticket distribution exercise had even upset veteran L K Advani, who showed reluctance in accepting the party’s decision to field him from Gandhinagar.
Advani put the party in a tight spot by expressing a sudden desire to shift to Bhopal.
He was apparently upset that his name did not figure in the first list of candidates announced on February 27.
Singh defended his party: “It was not such a big deal. The first list did not include even names of the party chief himself and the PM candidate ... nor did it include the names of the leaders of opposition in both Houses of Parliament.”
He also dismissed the media perception that the party was sidelining the veterans.
His concluding remark: “To give due respect to elders is part of the Indian culture. We are born and brought up in this culture and can’t think of humiliating our elders.”