At a time when the BJP high command is likely to announce cabinet reshuffle from its quota in the state anytime soon, former minister Manoranjan Kalia and chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) KD Bhandhari on Wednesday held a long closed-door meeting for near two hours at the former’s residence.
It is being seen as an interesting political development as the two leaders often remain at loggerheads on various issues.
Even as both Kalia and Bhandari termed the meeting as a courtesy call, the development is seen as a desperate move to get berth in the new cabinet.
Kalia is an MLA from Jalandhar Central while Bhandhari is MLA from the Jalandhar North assembly segment.
Bhandari is close to state party chief Kamal Sharma group whereas Kalia is considered their staunch opponent.
On various issued pertaining to BJP-ruled Municipal Corporation Jalandhar, both thye leaders have never a chance to target each other ever since Bhandari’s right hand Sunil Jyoti got the mayor’s post two years back.
Sources said Kalia invited Bhandari to his residence for the meeting.
“What wrong I did if I visited Kalia’s house? The media and certain groups which do not want us to work together are blowing the issue out of proportion. I received a phone call from Kalia and visited him for tea. Nothing much should be read out of this. We only discussed problems pertaining to the city and as how we can work together to solve them,” said Bhandari.
Sources in the BJP said since Kalia was likely to emerge as a stronger contender for the cabinet berth, Bhandari wanted to resolve old issues with him.
Sources said the CPS is also perturbed over the increasing clout of Ravi Mahendru, a Kalia loyalist, in the Jalandhar North constituency which is represented by Bhandari.
Mahendru earned brownie points when he strongly raised the issue of local traders with the excise department recently.
When contacted, Kalia said, “I cannot understand why the issue is being given this much hype. We are leaders from the same party,” he said.