NEW DELHI, Oct 19 - In the backdrop of the ensuing bye-poll to the Lakhimpur Lok Sabha seat, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today met BJP national president Amit Shah and discussed the issues of selection of party candidate for the bye-election and the appointment of State president of BJP, which has been pending for long due to lack of consensus among BJP members.
Sonowal drove down to the BJP national headquarters at Ashoka Road straight from the airport for the meeting, which lasted 10-12 minutes.
Talking to newsmen later, Sonowal confirmed the discussion on the issues of party candidate for the bye-election and appointment of a new State Party chief. The party will announce both in due course of time, he said.
The Chief Minister was tight-lipped about the names and said that Central leadership would take the final call. However, sources said that the pending issue of expansion of the Sonowal government was also discussed.
Party sources said that the BJP is unlikely to concede the seat to any of its alliance partners and would retain the seat for itself. Gana Shakti Party�s Dr Ranoj Pegu has been eyeing the seat and has reportedly sought support from the BJP.
The BJP Parliamentary Board is expected to meet here shortly and finalise the list of candidates for the bye-elections.
Replying to questions, Sonowal denied that there is any rift between BJP and its alliance partner AGP over the issue of Hindu Bengali. �The AGP is our alliance partner and would continue to be so and there is no difference between the two parties,� Sonowal asserted.
As reported by this newspaper, aspirants for the BJP ticket include Jagadish Bhuyan, Pradan Barua, Rupam Goswami, Mira Barthakur and Jayanta Malla Barua, among others.
Meanwhile, the stalemate over appointment of a new State unit president continues, as the State leadership is yet to evolve a consensus over a single name. While party old timer are insisting on appointment of a veteran leader, to maintain a balance, the newly inducted members and party general secretary in-charge of Assam Ram Madav have rejected the formula.
While names of Lok Sabha MPs Rameswar Telli, Kamakhya Tassa and Ramen Deka are doing the round, an influential camp has proposed the name of Assembly Speaker Ranjit Kumar Dass. The Chief Minister is, however, in favour of making Santanu Bharali the permanent president.
Meanwhile, Tassa has clarified that he is not in the race for the post of party president. Ramen Deka told this newspaper that though he is not averse to the idea of taking over as the party president, he has not been sounded out by the party leadership.