New Delhi: Vijay Sampla, the BJP's Punjab chief, has denied reports that he has resigned or threatened to, over selection of candidates for the assembly elections in the state. Mr Sampla, who is a union minister, had met BJP chief Amit Shah this morning, amid reports that he was upset at a candidate he wanted not being picked by the party's central selection committee. Punjab will vote for a new government on February 4. The BJP partners the Akali Dal in the ruling alliance.
"I met the president on a different issue. We are very active in our mission...Neither I nor our president is unhappy," Mr Sampla said, who trended on Twitter after meeting Mr Shah.
The minister emphasised that the selection of candidates was a collective decision and "involves everybody's will." The list of BJP candidates for Punjab had his full support, he said. The BJP will contest 23 of Punjab's 117 seats, while the Akali Dal will contest 94.
Vijay Sampla is also the BJP's Dalit face in a state which has a significant 32 per cent Dalit vote. He was appointed the BJP's Punjab chief last year in the run-up to the assembly elections in the state.
Press Trust of India reported that at their meeting, Amit Shah made it clear to Mr Sampla that the BJP will not take kindly to a public show of dissatisfaction or dissonance and asked him to campaign hard for the elections.
Punjab has traditionally witnessed a contest between the Congress and the Akali Dal-BJP combine, but this year Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party has also joined the battle.
Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had quit the BJP last year, joined the Congress on Sunday.