BJP losing 'perception war’ to sluggish start  

BJP contests only 3 seats in Punjab, which is the least by any mainstream party. (PTI File Photo)
BJP contests only 3 seats in Punjab, which is the least by any mainstream party. Yet the saffron outfit has remained indecisive in naming its official nominees so far. BJP’s ally SAD and the opposition Congress are in the last leg of naming their candidates. The SAD-BJP’s political stock plunged in the last assembly elections. The Congress already has its sitting MPs in two of the three seats where the BJP is expected to put out its contenders. 
 
The BJP has not even named its candidate from the lone Lok Sabha seat of Chandigarh. Even the Congress took the lead and named former union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who lost to BJP’s actor-turned-MP, Kirron Kher, in the last general elections in 2014. 
 
The saffron party contests 3 seats as part of the seat sharing arrangement with its ally Akali Dal, which fields its contenders in the remaining 10 seats. BJP lags in its campaign in Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur, the three seats which it contests.  
 
Interestingly, the delay in naming candidates for the four seats in Punjab and Chandigarh comes at a time when many of the forerunners in the poll fray claim they have been assured unofficially and started campaigning months ago. This indecision indicating edginess of sorts may possibly lead to dissent and may dampen party’s prospects. 

BJP can't be complacent

This time around, the BJP cannot be complacent, relying on its mere claims of its ‘safe seats’ in Punjab. It happened in last general elections when an overconfident SAD-BJP ally roped in union minister Arun Jaitley from Amritsar assuring him of victory from this safe seat. The Congress played a masterstroke by fielding its best bet, Captain Amarinder Singh, against Arun Jaitley. Capt won convincingly.
 
Besides top political leaders vying for the Amritsar ticket, names of actor Poonam Dhillon, Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi are doing the rounds.
 
The BJP is undecided even about Gurdaspur seat where a by-poll was necessitated in 2017 after the death of sitting MP and actor Vinod Khanna.
 
Khanna’s wife Kavita and actor son Akshaay Khanna are on the list. The party has zeroed in on sitting MP and union minister Vijay Sampla and former IAS officer Som Prakash from Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha seat. 

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BJP losing 'perception war’ to sluggish start  

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