NEW DELHI: In anticipation of turncoats deserting Congress ahead of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, BJP continues to withhold its list of nominees despite Saturday meeting of Central election committee (CEC) of the party. Desertion of Sukh Ram’s son Anil Sharma has kindled hope in the saffron outfit of more Congress leaders seeking BJP nominations for the upcoming polls.
“The CEC had finalised almost 60 names for Himachal Pradesh, which has a total of 68 seats, in Saturday’s meeting. Afterwards, reports came in of a few senior state leaders being unhappy. The Central leaders are talking to such politicians to ensure that the party doesn’t look a divided house ahead of the polls,” said a senior BJP leader, who added that the CEC had not discussed the issue of giving a chief ministerial candidate.
However, sources said that the former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, 73, will be contesting the elections.
The BJP is hopeful that a number of sitting Congress MLAs would quit their party. “If such people seek tickets, we need to have scope to accommodate them by withholding announcement of names of candidates,” added the BJP leader.
It has also emerged that the list of names which the CEC approved on Saturday doesn’t include adequate number of women nominees. “The party is examining if more women could be accommodated in the list of candidates for the November 9 Assembly elections,” said a senior BJP functionary, who added that the party is wary of the Opposition attacking the party for not giving sufficient representation to women nominees.
The BJP under the leadership of Shah has been seen patronizing turncoats in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. “The BJP chief likes fielding strong candidates in constituencies where the party may be seen weak. It has been seen in UP and Uttarakhand, besides Bihar in the past. Thus, the party isn’t hurrying with its list of nominees for the hilly state,” added the BJP functionary.