BJP president Nitin Gadkari, bowing to opposition from senior party leaders, has finally decided not to support Independent candidate Anshuman Mishra for the Rajya Sabha. He also directed the Jharkhand legislators to abstain from voting.
Amid increasing criticism from various corners — especially senior leaders like LK Advani and Yashwant Sinha — for fielding an outsider with a not-so-clean image, the state leadership was compelled to reconsider its decision to support Mishra’s candidature.
Party general secretary Ananth Kumar also said, "In view of large-scale horse trading and malpractices… the BJP has further decided that its members in the Jharkhand assembly will abstain from voting in the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled to be held on March 30."London-based Mishra, however, stung before quitting. "Senior leaders are insecure of youngsters and, hence, do not wish to promote them."
Without naming Advani, he said it's time for those who admire Paksitan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah to plan their retirement. He also criticised Sinha.
Later, as the party hardened its stance against him, Mishra said, "Abiding by the appeal by Nitin Gadkari, I will withdraw my nomination tomorrow…despite having the numbers to win." Mishra's candidature was supported by six BJP MLAs when he filed his nomination. The last date for withdrawal is Thursday.
Coalition partner Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, too, sounded upset. JMM's deputy chief minister Hemant Soren said, "I have no official communication on the BJP deciding not to vote. If that is the case, we would be free to decide our independent action plan."
JMM sources indicated that the decision might affect the stability of the ministry, headed by BJP's Arjun Munda. Both the BJP and JMM have 18 legislators each in the 81-member assembly.
The BJP's announcement came after a meeting held in the chamber of Sushma Swaraj, leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, which was attended by Jaitley, Yashwant Sinha, general secretaries Ananth Kumar and Ravi Shankar Prasad and others.