UP BJP downplays reports of dissent over ticket distribution

Allahabad, Apr 1: Uttar Pradesh BJP on Tuesday sought to downplay the reports of dissent within the party over distribution of tickets for the Lok Sabha polls, saying "longer queues are natural where there is a greater possibility of victory".

BJP national general secretary Amit Shah, who is in-charge of UP, said that the party "will not reconsider its candidate for any of the 78 seats in the state it is contesting except Fatehpur Sikri about which discussions are still on".

While the BJP has entered into a tie-up with Apna Dal which has been given two seats, - Mirzapur and Pratapgarh - a crisis has emerged in Fatehpur Sikri where party leader Udaybhaan Singh has threatened to contest as an Independent after denial of a party ticket.

After making the remark, Shah also replied in the negative when asked whether the expulsion of senior leader Jaswant Singh was indicative of the fact that the party was in a process of "phasing out" all leaders who were of a ripe old age.

Shah, who was here to inaugurate Narendra Modi's election office in the city, said the BJP prime ministerial candidate's next visit here "will be announced in one or two days".

Replying to a query, he said the party saw Varanasi as "a one-sided contest" though as a matter of principle it took "all opponents very seriously".

He, however, dismissed queries relating to the Congress' inability to announce a candidate from Varanasi and talks of a "common candidate" against Narendra Modi.

"These questions ought to be put to the parties concerned," Shah said. Asked about reports that US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell's resignation might have been caused by a strong possibility of Modi coming to power, Shah, who is Modi's close aide, said "we cannot comment on foreign policy matters on the basis of speculations made by the media".


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