Dehradun: A controversial audio tape has put the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in defensive mode after Madan Kaushik, the party MLA and once a strong contender for the BJP ticket from Haridwar parliamentary constituency, reportedly asked his supporters to vote for “any candidate” from Haridwar.
Kaushik, who had gone into hibernation after the party gave the Haridwar ticket to former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, is heard telling his supporters in a closed door meeting that the future of leaders from the plain area is in stake since the Pahadi leaders are dominating the polls.
“Haridwar ke logo ke maan mein gussa hai, soch hai ke apne beech ka neta ho. Usey pakar to sakenge. Ab usko kaha pakrenge jisko ticket deya hai. (People are annoyed in Haridwar. They have a strong feeling that someone among them should become a leader. At least, he could be traced. How will one trace the leader (Nishank) who is contesting now?” Kaushik is allegedly heard saying.
A copy of the audio file of the leaked tape is with HT. The five-minute-long conversation tape has many blatant statements by the MLA slamming the BJP, clearly suggesting that the party is a divided house.
The tape has surfaced at a time when the BJP is trying to prove that everything is smooth in the party. It is learnt that BJP in-charge Radha Mohan Singh swung into action to pacify Kaushik after the party ignored his candidature and preferred Nishank.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Kaushik was given a ticket but was soon taken back after some priests protested against his name.
“2009 mein kuch sant ja kar dharne mein baith gaye aur party ne ticket le liya. (In 2009, some saints sat on a dharna after which the party withdrew ticket)” the former cabinet minister is heard saying.
The Haridwar parliamentary constituency has more than 15 lakh voters, about 3 lakh of whom are from the hills. In the 2009 polls, Congress candidate Harish Rawat benefited from the Pahadi voters.
The BJP is in defensive mode after the controversial tape surfaced. Party general secretary Prakash Pant told HT that he will cross check with the party cadres.