The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday came out with their list of candidates for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. The party has given the ticket to all its sitting MLAs in Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar.

Together, the two districts comprise eight assembly seats — five in Ghaziabad and three in Gautam Budh Nagar.

The BJP, which came to power in Uttar Pradesh by winning a thumping majority of 312 seats out of the 403 assembly seats in the state in the 2017 elections, claims that it will again be victorious in the upcoming polls. Meanwhile, the Opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh said that the repetition of candidates will prove detrimental for the party.

“It is for the first time we are witnessing that members of a party, which is in power at the Centre, are running away to other parties in the state just before the elections. There is no ‘lahar’ (wave) as talked about during the earlier elections. The BJP talks about ‘beti bachao, beti padho’ but their list shows that hardly 10% tickets are given to the women. Their MLAs were missing while people were dying, and requiring oxygen during the pandemic,” said Dolly Sharma, member of All India Congress Committee and spokesperson of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee.

“We, as a party, have offered 45% tickets to youth and 40% to women. Our leader, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, is not playing politics on caste or religion, but trying to make a difference to the needy people. On the other hand, the list of candidates released by the BJP shows that they ran out of options and repeated their candidates,” Sharma added.

This time, the Samajwadi Party (SP) in alliance with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in western Uttar Pradesh also pose a major challenge to the BJP, and their leaders said that the decision to repeat the existing MLAs shows “fear” in the minds of the BJP leaders.

“After their ministers and MLAs quit and joined the SP, the BJP was fearful that more of their MLAs or leaders may quit. So, in order to pacify them, the BJP has repeated tickets and it is mostly on 99% seats in western Uttar Pradesh. This shows that they were afraid or there was some internal backlash, so they went ahead with the sitting MLAs. The work they have done is visible to the people. So, the SP-RLD alliance has a stage set for their win in the state,” said Trilok Tyagi, national general secretary of RLD.

Members of other parties also said that they were upbeat that the BJP repeated their existing MLAs as the move would benefit other parties.

“Their candidates have not kept their promises and the people are familiar with issues they have faced over the past five years. Be it extensions of metro trains or constructions of new hospitals or schools, people are also aware of hardships they faced during the pandemic as hospital beds were not available to them in the time of need. Further, the sitting MLAs will also face anti-incumbency,” said Tarunima Srivastava, Uttar Pradesh state spokesperson of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

“This scenario will benefit other parties, and AAP is an alternative for voters. They have seen the works done by our party and leaders in Delhi, and they will do the same works as promised to the people of Uttar Pradesh,” Srivastava added.

The BJP functionaries in Uttar Pradesh, however, denied that there is any impact of people leaving the party and joining other parties. “People who recently left the party portray that they had joined the party with an intent of getting tickets and personal gains, which were not fulfilled. The five candidates have been selected and given tickets after at least five surveys taken up by the party during the past six months,” said Sanjeev Sharma, president of the party’s city unit.

“So, the ground level situation favours them and they have done work in their respective assembly segments. Every worker of the party is with Modi ji (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) and Yogi ji (Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. The five candidates will file nominations soon and dates will be decided in a meeting. The anti-incumbency will not work as the candidates have got better connection with the voters,” he added.

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