With smaller parties and disgruntled leaders making a beeline for the BJP, the saffron party may be on a high. But the party cadre and ticket hopefuls are likely to feel neglected as it would be under pressure to give tickets to the new entrants.
Party sources said the BJP was under pressure to allot tickets to these ‘outsiders’ - as they are called by the cadre - on at least 30 seats out of the total 80 in Uttar Pradesh. The constituencies include Akbarpur, Phulpur, Amroha, Bhadoi, Nagina, Badayun, Mathura, Kaushambhi, Kaiserganj, Domariyaganj, Jaunpur, Bijnore, Unnao, Banda, Hamirpur and even Ghaziabad, if sitting MP BJP chief Rajnath Singh shifts to Lucknow.
Sources said leaders such as former Congress MP Jagdambika Pal is in talks with the BJP, while former Samjawadi Party MP from Kaiserganj Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and former Bijnor MP Munshiram Pal, who recently joined the BJP, are staking claims to the seats. Another recent entrants to the party are former RLD MP Munshiram Pal and former BSP MP Rajesh Verma, who, sources said, could be in the running for tickets.
The BJP’s first list of Lok Sabha candidates for the state is likely to be announced on Thursday. All eyes will be on this list, as the party is likely to announce the candidates for Varanasi, Lucknow and Kanpur, the three contentious seats which had given lot of heartburn in the party. Will the BJP bite the bullet to give Varanasi to its PM candidate Narendra Modi by asking senior leader and sitting MP Murli Manohar Joshi to contest from Kanpur? Even Rajnath is hoping to contest from Lucknow, forcing sitting MP Lalji Tandon to a neighbouring seat.
But what poses a challenge for the party is to transfer a “favourable sentiment” into votes, after the ticket distribution is likely to quell rebellion from the leaders who would be overlooked. As it happened in the case of Bihar, where many BJP leaders opposed alliance with Ram Vilas Paswan or entry of Ramkripal Yadav.
“Some repercussions are bound to happen as many will be denied tickets. So it will be important as to how the party moves in to placate those leaders and cadre who have not been accommodated. If that is not done, the wave may just fizzle out,” a senior BJP leader said. “We have 17 per cent vote share winning 10 seats during the 2009 elections. We expect it to go over 27 pc,” he said.