Will political ‘imports’ hurt BJP’s bid to end its UP ‘exile’?

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New Delhi | Updated: January 28, 2017 5:50:40 PM

Will the Bharatiya Janata Party's hopes of ending its 14-year political vanvaas (exile) in Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming election be shattered by a rebellion from within -- and against those being dubbed as "outsiders"?

While the jury is still out on the matter, the fact is that the cadre seem to be disoriented by the BJP central leadership's largescale embrace of "turncoats". (Reuters)While the jury is still out on the matter, the fact is that the cadre seem to be disoriented by the BJP central leadership’s largescale embrace of “turncoats”. (Reuters)

Will the Bharatiya Janata Party’s hopes of ending its 14-year political vanvaas (exile) in Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming election be shattered by a rebellion from within — and against those being dubbed as “outsiders”?

While the jury is still out on the matter, the fact is that the cadre seem to be disoriented by the BJP central leadership’s largescale embrace of “turncoats” and political opportunists who have been encouraged to flock to the party ahead of the elections — largely because the party felt it did not have “decent, winning candidates” for as many as 150 of the 403 seats in the assembly.

A veteran party worker from the Lucknow Central assembly constituency summed up the despondency as he rued how, over “good, clean and home-bred” people in the party, the leadership had chosen Brajesh Pathak, former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP, as its candidate.

Pathak, though a Brahmin leader of some stature, clambered on to the BJP bandwagon only last August.

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One of the top contenders for this ticket was the party’s state Vice President and city Mayor Dinesh Sharma, who many tout as Chief Minister material if the BJP comes to power. The anger, which was earlier palpable only in some sections, now seems to be spreading like the plague and is spilling onto the streets.

There have been fiery protests in many places in Uttar Pradesh — Lucknow, Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur, for instance — where ticket distribution, party workers say, has been “mortgaged to baahris (outsiders)”.

In Lucknow alone, the BJP has fielded three such “outsiders” — Rita Bahuguna Joshi (Congress) in Lucknow Cantt, Brajesh Pathak (BSP) in Lucknow Central and Avinash Trivedi (BSP) in Bakshi Ka Talaab.

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