A BJP parliamentarian from Bihar on Saturday alleged that the state’s leadership was giving candidature to “criminals” for the upcoming assembly polls, intensifying internal rumblings in the party ahead of elections considered crucial for the NDA coalition.
Elections for the 243-member Bihar assembly will be held in five phases between October 12 and November 5 and the BJP-led NDA is expected to face a tough fight with the grand alliance of the ruling JD-U, RJD and Congress.
“Popular sitting MLAs are denied tickets and criminals are being given the tickets. No wonder party workers are enraged in Bihar,” said RK Singh, a former Union home secretary and the BJP MP from Ara.
“What is the difference between you (BJP) and Lalu Yadav if you give tickets to criminals?” Singh questioned.
He also accused the state’s leadership of allegedly accepting money over the distribution of tickets.
“If people believe that your government will provide good governance, then you should act in same way,” Singh said adding that his call to state leader Sushil Modi went unanswered.
The party, however, denied the allegations with senior leader CP Thakur saying that “nothing of that sort happened” during the ticket distribution process.
Despite the potentially damaging statement by Singh, sources in the BJP said the party was unlikely to take any action against the MP before the state assembly polls get over.
However, Union home minister Rajnath Singh said tickets were distributed “fairly” after considering all aspects.
“In BJP, wherever there is ticket distribution, it is done fairly and after considering all aspects. As far as Bihar is concerned, the BJP-led NDA will win a comfortable majority. It has the support of the people of Bihar,” he said.
Another BJP leader Nalin Kohli described it as “RK Singh’s personal view”.
Sources said that both BJP president Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh called on called the BJP MP “to placate him”.
The BJP, which has announced the candidates for 153 seats, is already facing rebellion from former minister Chandramohan Rai, who resigned from the party recently.
The biggest jolt to the BJP has come from chairman of the Bihar legislative council Awadhesh Narayan Singh, who is sulking over denial of ticket to his son Raman Singh.
Singh has decided to contest from Dumraon against the official nominee.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leading the party’s campaigning in the state, having already addressed several poll rallies in Bihar. He is expected to address another 20 after his return from the US.
The Janata Dal (United) pounced on the issue with party leader Pawan Verma saying that the people Bihar were aware about the goings-on and would give a befitting reply to the NDA in the polls.