Raipur: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s decision against repeating any of the 10 sitting MPs in Chhattisgarh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections has not only surprised opponents, but also shocked its own party workers.
A day after the BJP resolved to field fresh faces in the state, a meeting of senior party leaders was held at the residence of Union minister Vishnudev Sai in New Delhi, while a separate meeting was scheduled to take place at the house of senior-most MP from the state Ramesh Bais in Raipur in the afternoon.
The meeting at Bais’s residence was expected to be attended by many of the MPs who are being denied tickets. However, most of the parliamentarians is said to have left for Delhi to take up the matter with the central leadership.
Sources said several of these disgruntled MPs may now rebel against the party.
On Tuesday, after a meeting of the BJP’s central election committee (CEC) in Delhi, Chhattisgarh in-charge Anil Jain said a proposal to field all fresh candidates was accepted by the CEC.
When asked about the reason behind the move, Jain told News18 the mandate of the state elections played a role in reaching the decision.
While the saffron party was relegated to 15 MLAs, the Congress won 68 seats in the 90-member assembly.
The BJP was apprehensive of strong anti-incumbency at the grassroots-level as was visible in the assembly results, a senior Raipur-based observer said.
It could be even worse for former chief minister Raman Singh, as neither he nor his son Abhishek Singh, sitting MP from Rajnandgaon, is likely to be given a ticket from the family borough.
The decision could also spell doom for the careers of several MPs, including Ramesh Bais, Kamal Bhan, Banshilal Mahto and Dinesh Kashyap. Kashyap’s two-time MLA brother Kedar Kashyap had lost in the assembly polls.
The party has, however, announced that those who lost in the recent state polls may be considered for candidature in the upcoming elections.
This has bolstered chances of former ministers – Amar Agrawal, Brijmohan Agrawal and Prem Prakash Pandey.
The lone Congress MP from the state, Tamradhwaj Sahu, is said to lobbying for a ticket for his son Ritesh. The party high command has announced names of five candidates for the state’s reserved seats.
The Maoist-hit state goes to polls in three phases — April 11, 18 and 23.
High on the recent assembly victory, an exuberant Congress is hopeful of winning all the 11 Lok Sabha seats in the upcoming polls.