LUCKNOW: Though the BJP is yet to release its first list of candidates for Uttar Pradesh, party circles here were abuzz on Monday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to seek re-election from Varanasi.
According to highly placed sources, Modi’s candidature from Varanasi is almost certain. A unanimous decision to this effect was believably taken at the BJP’s parliamentary board meeting in New Delhi recently.
Union Minister Uma Bharti, who had declared in December last year that she won’t contest this time due to health reasons, could be persuaded to test the poll waters from Jhansi again. Bharti had defeated Samajwadi Party’s Dr Chandrapal Yadav in 2014. She was praised by the PM while accompanying him to Jhansi for laying the foundation of the ambitious defence corridor on February 15, a day after the Pulwama terror attack.
However, axe may fall on about 30 of the 68 sitting MPs, said the sources. BJP had won 71 seats in 2014 as the Modi wave swept the state. However, it lost three seats — Gorakhpur and Phulpur, vacated by CM Yogi Aditynath and Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, respectively, and Kairana, which fell vacant due to the sitting MP’s death — to the SP-BSP joint candidates in 2018 bypolls.
Some Rajya Sabha members may also be considered for candidature. What is more, some of the MLAs and ministers in the Yogi cabinet may also get tickets.Besides, space to accommodate stalwarts from other parties and caste leaders will also be made. For example in Yogi’s bastion Gorakhpur , Amrendra, the son of SP leader Rajmati Nishad, who had recently joined the BJP, may be rewarded in an attempt to neutralise the caste arithmetic of SP-BSP. The crowd of ticket seekers is huge. Seats where the sitting MPs have crossed the age of 75 are particularly witnessing a rush of ticket hopefuls.
Huge rush of ticket hopefuls
A huge rush of probable candidates are making a beeline for the seats where the sitting MPs have crossed 75 years of age. Veterans like Murli Manohar Joshi, 85, MP from Kanpur, and Kalraj Mishra, 77, MP from Deoria, are among such leaders on whom
the BJP parliamentary board is expected to decide. However, in case of Joshi and Advani, the sources say, the call on contesting has been left to them.