UP polls: Dynasts, turncoats in first candidate list sparks dissension within BJP
After the Samajwadi Party, whose infighting rival parties were looking to capitalise on, it is the BJP that is suffering from internal conflict and revolt in Uttar Pradesh.
Sources in the party say senior leaders are unhappy with ticket distribution, and some have expressed their displeasure in strong words. Some have even threatened to resign, the sources said, and are exploring the possibility of joining other parties. The rift between the state and central BJP leaders is only widening.
Only last month, the BJP's state leaders and workers had expressed anger at the central leadership's high-handedness in running the party and announcing demonetisation at such a juncture, without consulting them.
The UP BJP has also suffered due to the party's moves elsewhere. Its image among OBCs and SCs took a hit due to the Una flogging incident. Then there was discontent over "outsiders" - leaders from rival parties - joining in great numbers and undermining the BJP's committed ground workers and leaders.
Now, there is discontent among upper caste Hindu members and supporters of the party over the OBCs getting a lion's share of the tickets in the first list of 149 candidates announced Monday. In this list, several "outsiders" have also found place - sitting BSP legislators from Behat, Nakur, Nehtaur, Palia, Patiyali, Tilhar and Dhaurahra; sitting Congress MLA from Gangoh; and the RLD MLAs of Baroli and Baldev. At least two Congress leaders who joined the BJP recently have also been accommodated in the first list. Sandeep, the grandson of former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, has been nominated from Atrauli. All this has angered the party's rank and file no end.
Further discontent is brewing over the second list of candidates prepared by the BJP's Chief Election Committee. It was supposed to be released Tuesday but has been held back apparently because of the rift it has caused.
"The prime minister repeatedly asked the party members not expect or ask for tickets for family members. Yet, this is what was reflected in the first list, and this is what you would see in the lists that will be released in the future," said a party insider.
While several senior BJP leaders, including the party's state president KP Maurya, have voiced dissatisfaction over the manner in which tickets were distributed without consultation with them, some leaders who had entered the party recently are reportedly looking for a way out. The latter include SP Maurya, who joined from the BSP not long ago. He is said to talking with rival parties as is Om Prakash Rajbhar, a popular OBC leader who had announced the merger of his Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party with the BJP. If Maurya does part ways with the BJP, the party would lose a counter to BSP's and SP's appeal among the backward communities.
Similarly, in the absence of Rajbhar, the party may miss out on significant Rajbhar vote block in Poorvanchal, Mau and Deoria.