The Bharatiya Janata Party may have a taken a lead by declaring its first list of 45 candidates early, but the tussle over remaining 23 seats is apparently escalating.
Party's national vice-president and Rajya Sabha member Shanta Kumar on Friday vehemently criticised chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's loyalist -- irrigation and public health minister Ravinder Singh Ravi – and accused him of hatching a "conspiracy" to secure party nomination for the Vidhan Sabha election.
Kumar's annoyance came at a time when party's top brass went into huddle in Shimla to deliberate ticket allotment on remaining 23 seats. The meeting was attended by chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, party chief Satpal Singh Satti, national general secretary JP Nadda, party state incharge Kalraj Mishra and his deputy Shyam Jajju. Party's top leaders also discussed the deadlock over ticket allocation for 23 seats. The BJP also deliberated over panel drawn for Kinnaur, Sundernagar, Jawalamukhi, Fatehpur, Bharmour, Jawali, Indora and Kangra segments.
The panel also gathered feedback on 45 nominees approved by the central parliamentary board. There is strong possibility that party could review candidates in one or two constituencies.
Reliable sources told Hindustan Times that former union minister Shanta Kumar was also invited for the meeting but was unable to make it to Deep Kamal, the state party headquarters. Shanta Kumar refused to attend meeting on health grounds. But Shanta scathing attack on IPH minister Ravinder Singh Ravi has made it clear that the veteran leader was unhappy with the allocation of tickets.
Kumar on Friday expressed displeasure over the state of affairs in the political parties. “The situation over ticket distribution in all the parties is a matter of concern. The party norms and decorum are being flouted openly,” said Shanta Kumar. He added that if deterioration continues in this manner, the day is not far when parties will become a group of people with vested interests.
"The word 'leader' will become an abusive term and the time is not far when political leaders will find difficult to walk on the roads," he said while appealing to the party leaders to be disciplined.
Making an oblique reference to the IPH minister’s claim over the Jawalamukhi seat, Shanta Kumar said there were lakhs of party workers across the country who were working without vested interests and would not hesitate to go to jail for the sake of the party. "A leader had remained legislator for three terms, but was opposing the claims of young candidates," he said.
Kumar suggested that leaders who had been legislators for the party more than two to three terms should make way for youngsters.
"Whenever youths try to come up, some leaders start pulling their leg. This is no less than a foeticide," he said. Kumar appealed to leaders and workers to work for the party victory in the elections.