BJP asks Jaitley not to contest LS polls

BJP asks Jaitley not to contest LS polls

Venkaiah, Naqvi asked to concentrate on party work

BJP asks Jaitley not to contest LS polls

The BJP has asked some of its Rajya Sabha members, including Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, not to contest the Lok Sabha elections despite their eagerness and instead assist in the electoral challenge.

Besides these three MPs, the BJP has also requested Dharmendra Pradhan and Thawar Chand Gehlot to concentrate on party work. Senior party sources said Rajya Sabha Leader of the Opposition Jaitley and Naqvi were keen to contest, but the party believed that their contribution in party work was required more.

Other Upper House members like Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Ravi Shankar Prasad may get a chance to get into electoral politics this time. Rudy was a minister in the NDA regime, but lost to RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in Chapra in 2009. Similarly, Prasad and Prakash Javadekar, who could not manage another Rajya Sabha term, were also keen to contest from Bihar and Maharashtra respectively. But, the party, facing a deluge of ticket seekers, is yet to take a final call. 

The BJP, which has already released its first list of 54 candidates, is going to come with the second round of announcement post the central election committee meeting on Saturday.

The BJP is very careful about selecting candidates this time as it believes any laxity on this front can cost them dear. A senior BJP leader said the latest feedback from the Uttar Pradesh unit gave an impression that the party would be eating into the Congress and Samajwadi Party’s pocket boroughs. 

He said according to their assessment, the BJP will make a dent into the Congress and Samajwadi Party’s vote base in about a dozen and half-a-dozen seats respectively. The party believes that it will do well in eastern and western Uttar Pradesh.