While debate and discussions over the selection of candidates for the 2019 general elections have already begun, parties have changed gears to make this process as fast and diligent as possible. Inefficient ticket distribution has seen various parties suffering electoral loses in the past and parties are working towards hitting the bulls’ eye with the right candidates. Apart from parties, candidates have also upped the ante to secure favorable seats for contesting the upcoming 2019 general elections.
Complications arising from new alliances and seat sharing agreements are bound to hinder a few candidates from securing candidature from certain seats. Ex-BJP parliamentarian and former cricketer Kirti Azad, who joined the Congress on 15th of February has been experiencing similar issues. Kirti Azad is a three-time MP from Bihar’s Darbhanga. After joining the Congress, Kirti Azad is trying to stake a claim for his ‘family seat’ Darbhanga. Darbhanga constituency had traditionally witnessed close competition between the BJP and the RJD. Azad’s entry into Congress, a party for which his father served as the Chief Minister of Bihar is being seen as a positive sign for the party’s electoral plans.
“The people of my constituency want me to fight in 2019. So I will be fighting the next general elections from Darbhanga itself. And I will fight on the ticket of a national party,” Kirti Azad told reporters earlier this year.
However major issues wait ahead, According to the seat sharing agreement of Congress and its alliance partner RJD in the state, Darbhanga constituency comes under the fold of RJD. RJD supremo Lalu Prasad has been insistent on the seat to remain with the RJD; Kirti Azad has made more than 10 trips to meet the jailed Lalu Prasad Yadav but has not been successful in changing his mind over Darbhanga constituency. Lalu Yadav, infamous for his self-centric political decisions has, by this move, posed questions on the BJP rebel’s political future. Speculations over Congress fielding Azad from South Delhi Lok Sabha seat, which has a sizable Purvanchali population, are floating.
— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) March 17, 2019
Kirti Azad was suspended from the BJP in 2015, the letter issued by the BJP read “For anti-party activities, Shri Kirti Azad, MP, Darbhanga, is with immediate effect suspended from the party.”
Kirti Azad was in the highlight when he retracted his allegations against DDCA and cricketer-turned-politician Chetan Chauhan. Involvement of Arun Jaitley was also alleged in the irregularities at DDCA. Consequently, a defamation suit was filed against him by DDCA and Chetan Chauhan. Azad, who was granted bail had sought quashing of the complaint on the ground that he was merely sitting beside former cricketer Surinder Khanna during a press conference and had not made any imputations against the cricketing body.
“Allegations against DDCA were made by Surinder Khanna. There is not an iota of evidence that I (Azad) have said anything. I was merely sitting beside the other members,” Azad had submitted through his counsel Baljeet Singh Dhir.
Arvind Kejriwal who was also accused by DDCA and Chetan Chauhan had also apologized and retracted his statements following which the court quashed the defamation suits against them. Both DDCA and Chauhan have claimed that defamatory statements were made by Kejriwal and Azad, who himself is a member of DDCA, “to remain in the public eye and gain political mileage”.
With new alliances setting in the political arena, interesting scenarios regarding candidates and their constituencies will surely increase stakes for the parties.