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LUCKNOW: The shadow of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident loomed large as Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and state general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal met the party’s brass in Delhi on Monday.
While party leaders remained tightlipped, sources said that BJP national chief JP Nadda chaired a closed-door meeting with Singh and Bansal to discuss the likely political fallout of the incident with a belligerent Opposition demanding the sacking of junior home minister Ajay Mishra Teni, whose son Ashish has been arrested for his alleged involvement in mowing down four farmers in Kheri on October 3.

The meeting, convened at the party headquarters at 11 Ashoka Road in Delhi, was also attended by Union education minister and Uttar Pradesh election in charge Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP vice-president and UP organisation in charge Radha Mohan Singh and deputy chief minister Keshav Maurya. BJP sources said the party is concerned amid the opposition’s aggressive stance to corner it over the Lakhimpur incident.
Analysts said BJP finds itself in a quandary given Teni’s Brahmin credentials which got underlined with his induction in the Union Cabinet in July. Sources said that the party is cautious and weighing all options before taking any decision on Teni’s fate as it could antagonise upper caste voters who have traditionally voted for the saffron party.

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Opposition parties, especially BSP and SP, are trying to woo Brahmins in a bid to stop the return of BJP to office after 2022 elections. BJP thinktank, sources said, does not want to give opposition any further room to unleash its salvos at the party and dent its electoral prospects in the assembly elections.
The state BJP leadership is said to have discussed the feedback gathered from MLAs during the region- wise meetings held at chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s official residence in the past three days. Sources said party MPs, MLAs and district level functionaries had voiced public concerns vis-a-vis facilities and administrative functioning.

The process of screening the sitting MLAs based on their performance in the past four-and-a-half years of BJP governance also figured prominently in the meetings. Sources said “a good number” of MLAs are on the radar of the party leadership.

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