Overruling veteran leader L.K. Advani, who reportedly desired to shift to Bhopal, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday stuck to its decision to retain him in the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency.
The Bhopal seat, however, does not figure in the sixth list of candidates for the general election, indicating that the option remains open in case Mr. Advani insists on shifting.
The BJP’s Central Election Committee (CEC) also announced that the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi would contest a second seat, Vadodara, in addition to Varanasi.
There were extensive parleys to persuade Mr. Advani to contest from Gandhinagar. According to reports, Mr. Modi called the party patriarch earlier in the day. Senior leaders Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari went to meet him at his residence. [They conveyed his unhappiness to party president Rajnath Singh, according to PTI] Mr. Advani, who chairs the BJP Parliamentary Party, did not attend the Parliamentary Board and CEC meetings.
The CEC announced 67 names for the Lok Sabha polls from 10 States. It includes Hema Malini (Mathura), Olympian Rajyavardhan Rathore (Jaipur, Rural), Dushyant Singh (Jhalawar), Jagdambika Pal (Domariaganj in eastern U.P) who quit the Congress to join the party on Wednesday.