Around 400 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers from Dadri, Jewar and Noida on Wednesday protested against the party’s decision to give tickets to turncoats.
The workers first gathered at the DND flyway at Delhi-Noida border around 11am and shouted slogans against Dr Mahesh Sharma, Gautam Budh Nagar MP and Union minister of state for tourism and culture. They also burnt his effigy at the flyway before leaving for Delhi.
The workers were seen carrying placards saying ‘bahri pratyashiyon ka ticket vapis lo’ (withdraw candidature of outsiders) while marching towards the BJP headquarters in Delhi.
An Uttar Pradesh police team was deployed at the protest site. Traffic movement was not disrupted at the flyway as protesters burnt the effigy on the roadside.
The BJP has decided to field Tejpal Nagar, 58, from Dadri, and Dhirendra Singh, 50, from Jewar. Nagar had quit the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and joined the BJP during the 2014 general elections while Singh quit the Congress and joined the BJP on January 8.
BJP workers said they are angry as the central leadership, including Dr Mahesh Sharma, is neglecting party loyalists and long-time workers. They added that the turncoats do not even believe in the party’s ideology.
“Dr Mahesh Sharma is working against the party to satisfy his ego because he does not want any other leader to flourish in Gautam Budh Nagar. He managed to get tickets to two outsiders (in Dadri and Jewar) so that he remains the most important BJP leader in the district. We are protesting as the move will weaken the party,” said Inderraj Khatana, BJP’s Sector 41 booth president.
However, Dr Sharma said, “Why are they burning my effigy and shouting against me? I have not selected the two candidates. The central leadership conducted a survey and found that these two candidates will do well in Dadri and Jewar. The central election committee decided to field them. I have nothing to do with it. They should protest in Delhi.”
“The protests will not affect the BJP in the election at all as the party has distributed tickets after detailed discussions,” he added.
Senior BJP leader Nawab Singh Nagar, who has been the MLA from Dadri twice (1996 and 2002) and was lobbying for a ticket from Dadri this time too, disassociated himself from the protest.
“These workers are angry because the central leadership, ignoring party loyalists, fielded candidates from Dadri and Jewar who had a long allegiance to the Congress and BSP and had joined the BJP not long ago. I did not ask them to protest; it is their natural outburst,” he said.