Even as the BJP on Saturday cleared the name of ousted Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who left the party only to rejoin it later, in the second list of 52 candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, the meeting of its Central Election Committee at the party headquarters here witnessed internal differences among the top brass over questionable alliances and likely allotment of Varanasi seat to BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi.
At the gathering attended by top BJP leaders, including L K Advani, Modi and Sushma Swaraj among others sparks flew as Murli Manohar Joshi quizzed BJP president Rajnath Singh on the reports about Modi being allotted the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat.
Joshi pointedly asked Rajnath as to why the party was remaining tight-lipped on the issue. Although the octogenarian, who currently holds the seat has put his foot down and wants to contest from the seat, leaders close to Modi have been pushing for Joshi to be shifted to Kanpur. Even a signature campaign has been started in Varanasi pushing for Modi’s candidature.
As the issue has generated heat within the party, even threatening to snowball into a controversy, all eyes will on the next meeting scheduled for March 13 when more names will be announced.
Sushma, on her part, questioned the move to forge alliances with the tainted parties. The Leader of Opposition also raised the issue of tie-ups with the Reddy brothers-led BSR Congress.
I am opposed to the BSR alliance or merger with BJP in Karnataka. @mukeshirs— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwarajbjp) March 6, 2014
She is learnt to have joined issue with Joshi. Moreover, Sushma asked why the BJP Parliamentary Board was not kept in the loop regarding the endorsement for such alliances.
Interestingly, the Karnataka BJP has been actively pushing for an alliance with the BSR Congress, which has four seats in the state Assembly.
As Joshi and Sushma left the meeting early, the BJP leaders were at pains to explain that the leader had a flight to catch. “Sushmaji had to catch a flight and Joshiji had some prior work,” party general secretary Ananth Kumar said.
Sushma also tweeted, “Going to Bhopal to attend important party meeting there.”
Going to Bhopal for important party meetings there.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwarajbjp) March 8, 2014
The meeting released the list of the party’s Lok Sabha candidates for Karnataka, Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura, Kerala and Assam.
And the prominent names included most of the sitting MPs and leaders like former Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda from Bangalore North; Ananth Kumar from Bangalore South; Prahlad Joshi from Dharwad and journalist-turned-politician Chandan Mitra from Hoogly in West Bengal.
However, what attracted attention was the ticket for Lingayat strongman Yeddyurappa, who will contest from Shimoga. After his re-entry into the BJP, the party had said his return was without any conditions or demands.