Supporters of disgruntled BJP leaders, who were denied tickets, held protests in several constituencies across the country, even as the party’s new candidates began campaigning. The protesters resented “outsiders” being chosen over veteran local leaders.
The local versus outsider conflict marred the first day of campaigning after Holi. Protests were reported against actress-turned-politician Kirron Kher in Chandigarh and former Army Chief General V K Singh in Ghaziabad, while another group vociferously protested outside the BJP’s headquarters in Delhi on Monday. Exercising his powers, BJP president Rajnath Singh declared V K Singh the candidate from Ghaziabad on Tuesday evening. Curiously, the former Army Chief’s name was declared a day before the party’s central election committee was scheduled to meet on Wednesday.
General V K Singh was talking to BJP’s local leaders Arvind Bharti and Sanjay Tyagi when some protesting workers shouted: “Ghaziabad needs local workers not paratroopers, go back General!” Refusing to give in to these protests, Rajnath Singh announced V K Singh’s candidature. The BJP president has shifted to Lucknow.
Hundreds of supporters of Haryana BJP leader Pradeep Sangwan protested outside the BJP headquarters saying the party had “sold” a party ticket to former Congress member Ramesh Kaushik, who recently joined the saffron party. Sangwan’s supporters demanded the Sonepat party ticket for their leader and threatened to work against Kaushik if their demands were ignored.
Earlier, several groups protesting against tickets given to Dalit leader Udit Raj from North-west Delhi and Mahesh Giri from East Delhi also turned up at the BJP headquarters.