In an unexpected development, the BJP’s sitting MP in the prestigious Lucknow seat Lalji Tandon has raised the banner of revolt against party chief Rajnath Singh, saying that he will contest only from Lucknow and will not step aside for any other candidate nominated by the party.
And Tandon’s reaffirmation regarding his intention to seek re-election from his sitting seat comes amid feverish speculation that Rajnath might shift to Lucknow from his present Ghaziabad constituency.
“I am neither tired nor retired. Would contest from Lucknow this time also,” he said, causing ripples in the BJP from Lucknow to Delhi, where in-party churning is going on for the finalisation of the names for the LS polls.
Originally, the BJP top brass had decided not to give renomination to Tandon and another of the party’s old guard, Murli Manohar Joshi in Varanasi, while planning to bring in Rajnath and party’s PM candidate Narendra Modi in the two seats.
Now, with Tandon and Joshi digging in their heels the BJP leadership is in a quandary as its gameplan has gone for a toss. Apparently, the two stalwarts have been bristling with annoyance at the manner in which the supporters of Rajnath and Modi have started their campaign activities in Lucknow and Varanasi.
Since Tandon and Joshi had made it unambiguously clear that they were in no mood to walk into the political sunset, it remains to be seen as to how the BJP top brass tackles the rather tricky situation.
Owing to the serious differences among the BJP’s UP unit regarding the candidates, the party is yet to finalise the names despite the EC coming out with the schedule for the LS polls. Similarly, the Congress has not announced its candidates.
The delay on the part of the two national parties is in marked contrast to the progress made by the Samajwadi Party and the BSP, which have already started campaign activities.