Two sitting MPs from Uttar Pradesh and Assam resign from the BJP.


New Delhi: Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to announce its first list of candidates, those sitting MPs who are unlikely to get tickets, have started looking towards greener pastures, namely, other parties. The first phase of polling will be held in 91 constituencies across the country on 11 April.

The party’s Central Election Committee held its meeting at the BJP headquarters on Saturday to finalise the candidates. The meeting which started around 5 pm was going on till filing of the report late night. The crucial meeting was being attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, senior party leaders Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj.

In Assam, Tezpur MP Ram Prasad Sarmah said he would resign from the party, soon after news came in that heavyweight leader Himanta Biswa Sarma would contest from there. Sources said Ram Prasad Sarmah’s name was not included in the party’s panel of probable candidates for the seat. It only had the name of Sarma, who is a minister in the Sarbanand Sonowal government in Assam and is also convenor of NEDA (North East Democratic Alliance).

In UP, sitting Prayagraj MP Shyama Charan Gupta, quit the party after rumours that he might not be given the ticket. Soon after, Samajawadi Party announced that Gupta would be the SP candidate from Banda constituency. Similarly, sitting BJP MP from Domariyaganj, Jagdambika Pal, who joined the party from Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, is said to be returning to the Congress fold after indications that he might not be repeated.

Sources say Shah is scheduled to meet senior leaders from Uttar Pradesh at the party office in New Delhi on Sunday to discuss candidates for the state. The meeting will be attended by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma. He is also expected to meet the party’s core committee members from Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

In another development, senior BJP leader and former Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri’s son, Manish Khanduri joined the Congress in the capital in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi. There is speculation that the Congress may field Khanduri junior from Pauri, a Lok Sabha seat, held by his father. Interestingly, last year, B.C. Khanduri was removed from his post of Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Defence.

In Odisha, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) sitting MP from Nabarangpur, Balabhadra Majhi joined the BJP. Majhi had quit the party on Thursday amidst reports that he would be denied the ticket for the Lok Sabha elections. His joining the BJP comes soon after another BJD MP, Baijayant Jay Panda, joined the BJP.