Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: BJP on Wednesday night decided to field LK Advani from his Gandhinagar constituency in Gujarat, overruling his desire to shift to Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh reflecting the tensions between him and Narendra Modi.
Modi, the BJP`s prime ministerial candidate, himself will contest from a second seat - Vadodara in Gujarat - apart from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
The announcement was made by BJP`s Central Election Committee which met today to finalise the party`s next list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls. With Advani not attending the meet, there were speculations as to where he will contest from. According to reports, BJP president Rajnath Singh telephoned Advani and urged him to attend the meet.
According to sources, Advani did not want to be fielded again from Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat. Advani had reportedly informed party chief Rajnath Singh about his preference for Bhopal, sources said. The 86-year-old former Deputy PM conveyed to Rajnath that he should have the right to choose his constituency as most of the other senior party leaders have been allocated their preferred seats.
The BJP patriarch is of the view that just as the party has fielded Modi from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, Arun Jaitley from Punjab and Rajnath Singh from Lucknow, he be fielded along with Sushma Swaraj from Madhya Pradesh to help the BJP "maximise the gains" in the area, PTI reported.
He has also questioned the CEC`s decision to accept the proposal from Gujarat to field him from Gandhinagar and not considering a similar proposal from Madhya Pradesh unit of the party to field him from Bhopal.
Advani has made his displeasure clear to the party leadership which is now finding it difficult to prevail over him and put an end to the unseemly controversy over his choice of constituency.
Meanwhile, given the predicament in the party over Advani`s seat, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan called Rajnath earlier today as per reports.
Reports also said that Modi too telephoned Advani this morning and urged him to contest from Gandhinagar seat. Soon after the CEC meeting, Modi went to RSS headquarters here to meet Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat in a bid to clear the air over Advani`s candidature.
Advani`s desire to shift from Gandhinagar may be seen as a reflection of the unease in his relationship with Modi. He is not in the best of terms with Modi after he opposed Gujarat Chief Minister`s anointment as BJP`s PM candidate in September last year.
Advani has represented Gandhinagar in the 10th Lok Sabha (1991-96), 12th Lok Sabha (1998-99), 13th Lok Sabha (1999-2004), 14th Lok Sabha (2004-09) and the current 15th Lok Sabha (2009-14).
The list of 60 candidates finalised by the party today included yesteryear dreamgirl Hema Malini who got a ticket from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh while Olympian medalist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore got ticket from Jaipur.
Announcing the list of candidates, BJP leader Thawarchand Gehlot refused to answer whether Advani had accepted the decision to field him from Gandhinagar.
"I have told you about the decisions taken," he kept repeating before winding up the media interaction.
The list finalised by the party today included 21 candidates each from Gujarat and Rajasthan, 15 from Uttar Pradesh, three from Bihar, two from Maharashtra and one each from Kerala, Jharkhand, Andaman and Nicobar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
The party also announced 15 candidates for Odisha Assembly elections and 17 for Arunachal Assembly polls.
(With PTI inputs)