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Senior BJP leaders to evaluate winning constituencies
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | February 25, 2008 20:38 IST
With an eye on the general elections in 2009, the Bharatiya Janata Party has started reassessing its chances in the 158 seats the party won last time. Senior leaders of the BJP will visit these constituencies between February 25 and March 20 and give their report to the party high command.
Addressing a press conference after a meeting with the party's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani, president Rajnath Singh and senior leader Sushma Swaraj said some members of the Parliament have expressed their concern due to the recent delimitation of constituencies.
When asked by a newsperson if other members of parliament, besides Satosh Gangwar, have expressed their concern, Swaraj replied in the negative.
She said that present members of the Lok Sabha would be given tickets according to their capability to retain their old seats.
"The party has won 296 seats since 1989, at one time or the other, on its own. We have formed 158 seats into 54 clusters and have nominated independent people, who will spend some time in the constituency to understand the local issues involved. They have been asked to spend at least one night in the constituencies before they give their feedback," she said.
Swaraj denied that the party was going to contest only 300 odd seats and leave the rest for other parties in the National Democratic Alliance. "No such decision has been made. What we are doing now is for our internal exercise," she said.
Fifteen of the 54 clusters, with 60 odds seats, are in Uttar Pradesh and they will be revaluated. Jharkhand has 4 clusters; Bihar and Andhra Pradesh have three each.
While senior leader Arun Jaitley has been asked to visit the Andhara Pradesh constituencies, S S Ahluwalia has been given the responsibility of the West Bengal constituencies.
Special attention has been given to Maharashtra, with former BJP president Venkaiah Naidu and Sushma Swaraj both looking after the constituencies there.
Explaining the rationale behind appointing these leaders, Swaraj said, "The criterion is that the leader concerned should not belong to the state and should never have handled the state before this," Swaraj said.
Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha and leader Balbir Punj will report on the constituencies in Tamil Nadu, while Anant Kumar will visit the constituencies in Goa [Images].