Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers are protesting against giving tickets to turncoats who have joined the party just before the 2017 assembly polls. Many leaders from the Congress and Samajwadi Party have joined BJP in recent weeks as they were unsure of being fielded in the polls.
Gautam Budh Nagar is to go to polls on February 11, the first phase of the elections in Uttar Pradesh. There are three assembly segments — Noida, Dadri and Jewar — in Gautam Budh Nagar district.
Former Uttar Pradesh Congress spokesperson Thakur Dhirendra Singh and his supporters had joined BJP on January 8. Singh quit the Congress and joined BJP on the assurance of a ticket from Jewar, as he was not sure that Congress would field him in the polls.
However, BJP workers in Jewar had protested against the development.
“We expressed our stand to the party’s top leaders, including state president Keshav Prasad Maurya, organisational minister Sunil Bansal and senior BJP leader Om Mathur. Ticket from Jewar should be given to a party worker, who has been associated with our party’s ideology for years and has worked for the same with dedication. It should not be given to someone who has joined BJP just for a ticket,” Thakur Harish Singh, former BJP president of Gautam Budh Nagar district unit, said.
Thakur Dhirendra Singh, however, denied any opposition to his candidature. “Those who are protesting are not important to the BJP,” he said.
Samajwadi Party MLAs from Dibai (Bulandshahr) and Shikarpur (Bulandshahr), Bhagwan Sharma and Mukesh Sharma, now associated with the BJP, are probables for tickets from the district. However, they are also facing strong opposition from BJP workers.
Former Samajwadi Party general secretary Ashok Pradhan also joined the BJP on Friday. BJP workers said they will protest if Pradhan’s family gets a ticket. However, Pradhan said that he is not intent on being fielded in the polls.
“I have been a member of Parliament four times and also served as a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. I do not want a ticket for myself, my wife or my daughter, as is being propagated by some leaders. I am an old BJP soldier and want to work with pure dedication, without a wish for a ticket,” Pradhan, who represented the Noida-Khurja constituency in Uttar Pradesh as an MP in 1996, said.
A Bahujan Samaj Party local leader Ravinder Tongad, who joined the BJP in 2016, is also lobbying for a ticket from Dadri.
“A party worker should be given preference over a turncoat when it comes to giving tickets. From Dadri, old party loyalist Nawab Singh Nagar is a better choice,” Pradhan said.
Vimla Batham, BJP MLA from Noida, said, “BJP is a very disciplined party. Once the tickets are finalised, all will work for the party to form the government in the state.”