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BJP split on Varun in Vidisha, Cong plans to make a fight

The BJP is divided on fielding Varun Gandhi as its candidate in Vidisha Lok Sabha bypoll in Madhya Pradesh.

india Updated: Oct 05, 2006 23:46 IST

The BJP is divided on fielding Varun Gandhi as its candidate in Vidisha Lok Sabha bypoll in Madhya Pradesh even as Congress is readying plans to make it a fight in the coming electoral battle in the saffron-rule state.

As BJP is caught in a deadlock on the choice of the candidate ahead of its Central Election Committee meeting on Friday, AICC General Secretary V Narayanswamy said the party would contest the seat, whoever might be the BJP candidate.

"We will be contesting Vidisha as also Bada Malhera Assembly seat (in Madhya Pradesh) and the situation is becoming favourable for us day by day," Narainswamy, who is in charge of party affairs in the state said.

Congress clearly wants to test the waters in Vidisha, an RSS stronghold once represented by Atal Bihari Vajpayee as also Bada Malhera as it assesses BJP and Uma Bharti's Bharatiya Janakshakti Party would work at cross purposes.

Ahead of BJP's CEC meeting, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has lobbied hard against Gandhi, favouring some local leader as the party candidate for Vidisha.

BJP's central leadership, as also some RSS leaders, are backing Gandhi on the premise that he could be the saffron answer to Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha and would be able to overshadow his elder cousin if he succeeds in entering Parliament.

Second-rung leaders of BJP are not, however, enthusiastic about fielding Varun.

A sizeable section of BJP feels the party's central leadership will have to seriously ponder over Chouhan's stand for a smooth sailing in the bye-election.

This section feels Chouhan will not press for the candidacy of his wife Sadhna Singh if some local leader is selected for the contest.

Congress is seeing an opportunity in BJP's dilemma in Vidisha as senior party leaders are saying the chief minister will be in an unenviable position if he fails to secure a win for the party candidate from the prestigious seat.

AICC has sent senior MP from Delhi Jaiprakash Agarwal to Madhya Pradesh to talk to local leaders on who should be the party candidate from Vidisha.

Party chief Sonia Gandhi will decide the nomination after receiving a report from Agarwal.

Congress is buoyed by recent developments as BJP and its government in MP faced an embarrassing situation recently following the death of Ujjain college professor HS Sabharwal after an assault allegedly by ABVP activists.

The state government's decision allowing government employees to participate in RSS activities has also created a controversy which Congress feels could help it.

Former Union Minister Shahnawaz Hussein is likely to be BJP candidate from Bhagalpur Lok Sabha seat fallen vacant in the wake of resignation of party leader Sushil Kumar Modi who has become Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar. Modi, who was in New Delhi on Thursday, met the party's top brass.

BJP's CEC will also name the candidates for Koderma Lok Sabha seat vacated by former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi after he quit the party.

First Published: Oct 05, 2006 23:46 IST