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Senior BJP leaders may avoid campaigning for tainted nominees

delhi Updated: Jan 07, 2012 21:14 IST

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Senior BJP leaders like L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Murli Manohar Joshi and others who are opposed to the decision of giving tickets to tainted leaders may avoid campaigning for such candidates as they feel the step has weakened the opposition's fight against corruption.

While Advani has spoken strongly against corruption and black money, Swaraj has led the BJP in Parliament in advocating a strong Lokpal to combat graft.

Joshi took on the UPA government as chairperson of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee on the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

Though BJP has declared it will not give a ticket to Babu Singh Kushwaha, the OBC leader and former Cabinet minister in the Mayawati government whose induction into the party has led to unease in the ranks, there are some candidates who have been involved in corruption in the past.

Chhatrapal Singh, BJP candidate from Anupshahr, was found guilty by a Parliamentary panel in the cash-for-query scam as a Rajya Sabha member. Similarly, Badshah Singh, the thakur leader from Hamirpur in Bundelkhand, was served a notice by the UP Lokayukta for financial irregularities as Labour Minister in the BSP government. Daddan Mishra, who quit Mayawati's cabinet, is also facing corruption charges.

Sachhidananad Hari Shakshi Maharaj, a three time MP who was jailed on rape and sexual assault charges, is the BJP candidate from Bhongaon. Asked if Advani, Swaraj and the like will avoid such candidates, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said, "All BJP leaders will campaign for all party candidates." But party sources said though the top leaders will campaign in UP, they will skip these candidates.

Meanwhile, firebrand BJP leader Uma Bharti is also unhappy with some of the recent developments and there is uncertainty about her campaigning after January 9.

Sources close to her maintained that Bharti is suffering from backache and other problems due to constant travelling since last month and needs rest for a few days.

However, the real reason seems to be her sulk over denial of ticket by BJP to her candidates. Only Vivek Sheel Shukla, who is in the fray from Kidwainagar, is from her camp in the list. Though Bharti did not have any objection to Kushwaha's induction, she is unhappy over Badshah Singh getting a ticket.

He was a Bharti confidant till the 2007 polls but switched over to Mayawati. As of now, Bharti's campaign schedule has been prepared only till January 9. However, the party is optimistic she will be placated and will campaign for BJP.

A section within the BJP is worried that this dissent from the top brass which started with Kushwaha's induction and now seems to have grown manifold may harm the party. However, sources close to party President Nitin Gadkari feel this is a gamble which may pay electoral dividends for the BJP as the non-Yadav OBCs like the Kushwahas, Mauryas, Kurmis and others will rally behind it.