Despite meetings of its central election committee last week, the BJP seems to have held back on announcing the second list of candidates for both Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Sources say the lists are now likely to come only after the conclusion of the Jan Ashirwad Yatra and the Parivartan Yatra being conducted by the party in the two states respectively.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to be present at the concluding programmes of the pre-poll rallies Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh on September 25 and 28 respectively. The second list might come only after that or even in October first week when the election dates might be announced and the model code of conduct imposed.
There are indications that the BJP is holding back the lists due to the internal dissent and opposition reported from at least a dozen seats out of 39 in Madhya Pradesh for which the party announced its first list on August 17. The opposition is so much that a former MLA from Chachoda constituency, Mamta Meena, resigned from the party to protest against her not being considered as a candidate. There have been reports of dissent and opposition from a few seats in Chhattisgarh as well.
Sources said the party felt that if it went ahead with the announcement of a second list before the start of the pre-poll rallies in the two states being attended by senior party leaders from across the country, the internal dissent might have a negative impact on the show. Currently, the many aspirants in the queue for tickets are making all attempts to show their strength by bringing in supporters to the yatras and this is helping the cause of the party.
Further, sources said the party wanted to push Congress on the back foot by announcing candidates early and make it take some hasty steps, but this did not fructify. The Congress did not react to the BJP move at all and the report is that it might declare candidates only after the announcement of election dates. Sources said Congress leaders feel that this might prevent any possible jumping of ship by its leaders who are denied tickets as by then, the BJP would also have its lists out.
Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath has repeatedly said the party is not in a hurry to announce the candidates and the undisputed candidates have already been given indications to make preparations for polls, so that they have adequate time.
Given this strategy of the Congress, the BJP also probably feels that if it announces tickets in haste, its discarded aspirants might move across to Congress and also internal disputes might simmer for a longer period. Already, several senior BJP leaders have crossed over to the Congress during the past few weeks and some of them are likely to get tickets from the opposition party.
The situation is more or less similar for Chhattisgarh too and the BJP is likely to make moves for both the states together. Sources indicated that while there are speculations that the second list of candidates might also include those seats where the BJP has been losing, the party might spring a surprise and announce the tickets of undisputed candidates first.
In any circumstance, the wait for the BJP ticket aspirants is also likely to stretch on for now.