oppn parties BJPs First List: Mixed Signals

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oppn parties
BJPs First List: Mixed Signals

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2024-03-05 07:19:16

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

That the BJP is not taking the target of 370 for the party and over 400 for the NDA lightly is evident from the fact that it has released the first list of 196 candidates for the 2024 general elections much ahead of the opposition. This will give the party and the candidates the first mover advantage as well as more time for campaigning. For, while it is true that when elections draw close, the karyakartas get into election mode almost 6 months from the date but in the absence of a face and a candidate, the drive lacks the required momentum. Now, with 196 candidates in place, the campaigning in those constituencies will start in real earnest even before the opposition selects its candidate.

There were many surprises in the first list of the BJP. Several sitting MPs, 42 in all (a staggering 21 percent), were dropped as the party crunched data to gauge their chances of winning again. Some like Gautan Gambhir and Jayant Sinha perhaps got the wind that they might be dropped and asked the party to in advance  As per party sources, 'winnability' has become the buzz word this time as the BJP focuses on leaving nothing to chance. Caste considerations have also weighed in while defectors from other parties have also found place. The list includes PM Modi, who will contest again from Varanasi, and Home minister Amit Shah who will seek reelection from Gandhinagar.

Although the list sends out several signals, the most reassuring one was that loudmouth MPs accused of hate speeches, like Pragya Thakur (Bhopal), Parvesh Verma (West Delhi) and Ramesh Bidhuri (South Delhi), have been denied tickets. But against this, the re-nomination of Ajay Kumar Mishra Teni (whose son Ashish Mishra is the prime accused in the mowing down of four farmers) from Lakhimpur Kheri is not right. The list also includes several prominent names from Rajya Sabha, like IT minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar (to contest from Thiruvananthapuram against Congress' Shashi Tharoor), Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Animal Husbandry Minister Parshottam Rupala, Shipping Minister Sarbanand Sonowal, among others, who have been asked to contest Lok Sabha elections this time.

As Prime Minister Modi is given to shake things up, this correspondent, for one, was waiting for him to consider contesting from another seat in south India, perhaps from Tamil Nadu. As the BJP is targeting the southern states where, except for Karnataka it does not have much sway, if Modi considers contesting from a seat in a southern state like Tamil Nadu, it will create a huge buzz and the party workers there will be highly enthused. Tamil Nadu will serve the purpose given the fact that Udhayanidhi Stalin's intemperate remarks (even the Supreme Court said it was misuse of his right under Article 19 and 25) against Sanatan Dharma had angered Hindus all over India and by contesting from that state, the Prime Minister could send a signal that he is taking the fight to the backyard of those who hate Sanatan Dharma.