With opinion polls indicating a clean sweep for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, the party is expected to announce its first list of candidates for 38 seats in the Poorvanchal, Bareilly, Lucknow and Varanasi belt around February 14.
The BJP under state in-charge Amit Shah, and national president Rajnath Singh, has now decided to battle it out for “C” grade seats like Balia and Salempur in eastern UP where the party has never won a seat since Independence.
Senior BJP leaders told Hindustan Times that preparations for the first candidate list will begin after Shah returns to Delhi on February 7. He will first study the ground situation in Lucknow-Shahjahanpur, Bareilly-Amla, Fatehpur Sikri-Agra and Meerut-Aligarh-Etah belt. Shah was on an extensive tour around eastern UP last week to explore electoral prospects in Gorakhpur, Deoria, Balia, Salempur, Ghazipur and Chandausi.
“For campaigning purposes, Shah had divided UP into 14 parts. Candidate list of four parts will be announced around February 14 with focus on candidate’s winning ability,” said a BJP leader.
With electoral surveys showing strong support for the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in parts of UP bordering Bihar, Singh and Shah have decided to field strong candidates for seats like Ghazipur, Chandausi and Deoria. These constituencies are not exactly favourite hunting grounds for the right wing party with Deoria returning a BJP candidate only once and Ghazipur twice since 1947.
Party sources said Rajnath-Shah combine was focused on UP as votes from UP are critical to Modi’s bid for prime ministership. “While none of the state in-charge in the past decade since the time of SS Bhandari had even travelled to more than 28 districts Shah by February 7 will have toured 52 out of 80 parliamentary constituencies focusing on booth management and getting workers to network better,” said a party official.