The BJP’s third list of Lok Sabha candidates has opened a Pandora’s Box, with senior party leaders in Bihar openly expressing their displeasure at being ignored or given seats they don’t want to contest from.
The trouble in Bihar spilled out into the open, with former state minister Giriraj Singh meeting party president Rajnath Singh here on Friday and complaining about “selective targeting” of upper caste leaders. Giriraj is miffed with the party for giving more weightage to the opinion of leaders like Sushil Kumar Modi who he said had compromised the BJP’s interests during the alliance with the JD(U) at the “behest” of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. The JD(U) walked out of the alliance last June after Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was elevated as chief of the BJP’s poll campaign committee.
Giriraj did not get the seat of his choice, Begusarai, and has been fielded from Nawada, which the BJP pledged to ally Rashtriya Lok Samata Party of Upendra Kushwaha.
Apparently disappointed with the outcome of his meetings with Rajnath Singh and party general secretary (organisation) Ramlal, Giriraj declared, “It is Begusarai or nothing for me.” He blamed the denial of the seat of his choice on a “conspiracy” by those in the BJP “who had publicly opposed Narendra Modi for the PM’s post and instead endorsed chief minister Nitish Kumar”.
Actor-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha was in a sulk after he found that he was the only one among 12 sitting party MPs whose re-nomination (for the Patna Saheb) seat was “put on hold”.
BJP sources said Sinha’s woes might be rooted in his flip-flop on Narendra Modi, when a debate was on in the party whether he should be declared the BJP’s PM nominee.
Former Minister Ashwini Chaubey, the BJP’s Brahmin face in Bihar, too is upset over being denied a ticket from Bhagalpur, where sitting MP Shahnawaz Hussain has been retained.
Another ‘original’ Modi supporter, former minister Chandra Mohan Rai, who was denied a ticket for Valmikinagar in north Bihar, said his long association with the party had counted for nothing. “Never before have I been left with the feeling that I am a small pawn in the game that big people play in politics,” Rai said.