Advani to re-contest from Gandhinagar at next polls

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New Delhi, Jun 26: BJP's Prime Ministerial nominee L K Advani was formally renominated to contest from Gandhinagar in Gujarat in the coming Lok Sabha (LS) elections and he will kickstart the 'Vijay Sankalp Rally' in Kanpur, signifying the party's intentions to make serious inroads in the country's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.

Although the party has apparently finalised the names of about 160 Lok Sabha nominees, it chose to announce the names of only five other candidates besides Mr Advani after a two-hour-long meeting. The other candidates were MPs Navjyot Singh Sidhu (Amritsar), Vinod Khanna (Gurdaspur), Mr Sripad Naik (North Goa), Lt Gen GPS Rawat (Pauri Gharwal) and Mr Anurag Thakur (Hamirpur).

Mr Advani's 'Vijay Sankalp Rally' also signifies his takeover of the party's leadership from former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who might not contest elections again from Lucknow. UP accounts for 80 seats in the 543-member LS.

The BJP, in all probability, would nominate many of its Rajya Sabha bigwigs to contest from LS seats, party sources indicated.

The party was hopeful of finalising the names of candidates by the end of August, senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu told newspersons after the meeting.

Finalising the party nominees was an effort to provide enough time to the candidates to carry out preparatory poll groundwork well ahead of other party candidates, he said.

Notwithstanding the troubles in the ruling UPA government over the Indo-US nuclear deal, a section of the BJP remained sceptical about the possibility of snap polls. ''We don't see the UPA government sacrificing its term for enhancing India's nuclear power prospects in the distant future,'' a party leader remarked.

With soaring prices and inflation grinding the common man, we don't expect the Congress to order a snap poll, he reasoned.

The BJP also saw the discussion on the deal as an exercise to divert the people's attention from burning issues like price rise, inflation and failure to supply fertilisers to the farmers on time or provide them remunerative price for their produce.

UNI

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