BJP to decentralise ticket distribution

A day-long strategy meeting of the State BJP for the urban local bodies (ULB) elections on Saturday decided to come out with a manifesto on February 20 and decentralise the responsibility of issuing tickets to the jurisdictional taluk and district levels.

With the March 7 ULB elections coming just ahead of the Assembly elections, the meeting also resolved that the allotment of party tickets should be taken up at the local level only after extensive consultation. The BJP wants to thwart any major rebellion by disappointed party workers who fail to get party tickets as it would have its chain effect on the party’s prospects in the Assembly polls. This will also be the first major elections being faced by the BJP after the exit of B S Yeddyurappa from the party.

The top brass of the BJP, including State party president K S Eshwarappa, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka, National General Secretary Ananth Kumar, party office-bearers and a host of ministers and legislators participated in the day-long meeting.

An official notification for the ULB polls was issued on Saturday. February 23 is the last date for filing nomination papers. The BJP stood third in the ULB polls held in December 2007. Of the 5,004 ULB wards for which elections were held, the BJP secured 1,180 wards, behind the JD-S (1,502) and the Congress (1,606).

Sources in the BJP said the party planned to make all efforts to retain its stronghold in five major city corporations of Shimoga, Davangere, Hubli-Dharwad, Bellary and Gulbarga in which it gained a majority during the previous polls. The party also has a majority in 12 city municipality councils, 23 town municipality councils and 19 town panchayats.

The BJP is planning to focus on local issues during its campaign and not touch upon the tumultuous developments in the party during the last four and a half years, sources said.
Party State general secretary Raghunathrao Malkapure told reporters that the BJP would go it alone in the polls. The party would launch its campaign on February 28, he said.

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