PM Modi or Amit Shah likely to launch BJP’s LS poll campaign in Uttarakhand by March-end
Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP chief Amit Shah may launch the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Uttarakhand by March end, party leaders said.
The leaders also did not rule out the possibility of fresh faces contesting from the five parliamentary seats in the hill state.
The party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha polls could be launched with a public meeting in the state on March 25 or 26, BJP state unit chief Ajay Bhatt said. “The list of star campaigners for the impending polls discussed at the party’s election management committee meeting will also include a host of central ministers,” he said.
Briefing about the election management panel meeting held at the state BJP headquarters in Dehradun on Tuesday, Bhatt said the place was yet to be decided for the proposed public meeting to be addressed by the Prime Minister or Shah.
“Some of the central ministers could also launch the party’s poll campaign in the state in case the Prime Minister and the party chief are not able to spare time,” Bhatt said. According to him, the names of Union cabinet ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi would also be included in the list of BJP’s star campaigners.
“There would be a separate list of the party’s star campaigners from its state unit who will also campaign for the Lok Sabha polls,” he said.
BJP’s national joint general secretary (organisation) Shiv Praksh, its Uttarakhand unit in-charge for the Lok Sabha election Thavar Chand Gehlot and state in-charge Shyam Jaju also attended the closed-door meeting. Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and some his cabinet colleagues, apart from some key leaders of the BJP’s state unit, were also present.
Bhatt said the party would be fully in a campaign mode after the formality of filing nominations by its candidates is complete by March 25. The election campaign committee meeting would be followed by back-to-back organisational meetings to be held in the next few days, Bhatt said.
According to him, the BJP’s central parliamentary board would soon announce the panel of candidates for all the five Lok Sabha constituencies in the state. Out of these constituencies, Nainital and Almora fall in the Kumaon division whereas the rest -- Tehri, Pauri and Haridwar -- fall in Garhwal.
“Our party could announce the list of the candidates for the five Lok Sabha seats on March 16 as the state will go to the polls on April 11,” Bhatt said referring to the first of the seven phases of the parliamentary elections to be held in the country.
He said the party’s state parliamentary board would submit its panel of candidates for all the five Lok Sabha seats to the central parliamentary board before March 16. BJP state in-charge Jaju in a media interaction did not rule out the possibility of the party trying fresh faces for the five Lok Sabha seats.
“Whether the sitting parliamentarians will be repeated or they will be replaced by fresh faces will be decided by our party’s central leadership,” Jaju said, answering a query suggesting that the BJP brass could try fresh faces for the five Lok Sabha seats to tackle the strong anti-incumbency against the ruling party.
Bhatt, however, reiterated that as far as the BJP’s state unit was concerned sitting parliamentarians could be repeated. “However, selection of candidates for the upcoming polls is the discretion of the party’s central parliamentary board,” he clarified.
Party insiders, however, said the high command had already finalised the candidates for all the five Lok Sabha seats on the basis of the internal surveys conducted by the party. “The state parliamentary board may have recommended its panel of candidates to the party high command but that’s a mere formality which has no meaning,” a leader of the BJP’s state unit said.