BJP treads carefully before announcing final list of candidates from UP
New Delhi, Apr 01: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is burning the midnight oil to finalise 18 candidates to be fielded in Uttar Pradesh. The party has declared candidates for 61 constituencies, but is yet to take a final call on the remaining 18.
The delay in the declaration of the 18 candidates is due to the political alignment in the state.
The alignment has changed dramatically after the SP and BSP decided to fight the elections together.
In the 2014 elections, the BJP won 71 seats while its ally the Apna Dal bagged two. The BJP would tread carefully before deciding on the 18 candidates and is taking into account several factors such as anti-incumbency and the new political alignment between the SP and BSP.
The BJP is yet to declare candidates for Jhansi, Rae Bareli, Banda, Pratapgarh, Ambedkarnagar, Santkabir Nagar, Lalganj, Machhlishahr, Bhadohi, Robertsganj, Ghosi, Gorakhpur, Phulpur, Mainpuri, Azamgarh, Firozabad, Deoria and Jaunpur.
The BJP is also trying to figure out who it should field from Rae Bareli, where Sonia Gandhi would contest from. Ajay Agarwal who contested the elections against Sonia in 2014 has told the party that if he is denied a ticket, then the party would be stating a huge defeat in the state.
Further the party is also taking a call on Gorakhpur and Phulpur, where it lost the by-elections. It would be a battle of prestige for the BJP in these seats as they have always been strongholds of the party. Gorakhpur is home to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath and he has won the seat in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014.
A by-election was necessitated after Yogi resigned from the seat after being made the CM of Uttar Pradesh. In the by-poll, the BJP was defeated by the SP-BSP combine.
The BJP would also focus on Phulpur, which was held by UP deputy chief minister, Keshav Prasad Maurya. After he resigned from the seat, the BJP lost the by-elections here to the SP and BSP.
The BJP is also looking for a replacement for Uma Bharti in Jhansi. The party would also look for a replacement for Kalraj Mishra who said he would not be contesting from the Deoria seat.
The party is also in talks with the Apna Dal, which will contest on two seats. While the Apna Dal would contest from Mirzapur, there is no clarity on the second seat as yet. The Apna Dal is understood to have asked the BJP for the Pratapgarh seat.