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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Chawla questions Chugh's elevation as BJP national secretary 

Ravinder Vasudeva, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, August 23, 2014
First Published: 00:30 IST(23/8/2014) | Last Updated: 10:37 IST(23/8/2014)

Senior BJP leader Laxmi Kanta Chawla has questioned the elevation of Amritsar leader Tarun Chugh's elevation as national secretary of the party.

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While talking to HT on Friday, Chawla termed it unfortunate. "As a dedicated party soldier, I can only say that induction of leaders like Chugh has surprised me. The party must take into consideration the complete track record of the leaders before selecting them in the national team as office-bearers. The entire rank and file of the party in the state is surprised over the elevation. Chugh could not register a win from Amritsar Central even," Chawla said. 

Whereas some BJP leaders have welcomed the party high command's move to elevate its state unit general secretary, the move has not gone down well with a large section of the party who are "surprised" at the move.

Chugh, 41, who contested from Amritsar Central in the last assembly elections and lost by a margin of 12,797 votes, has nothing much to show as his achievements barring a tenure as the state president of Bhartiya Yanta Yuva Morcha in 1998-1999.

Even in this constituency, that is considered the safest seat where earlier party stalwarts like Chawla and Balramji Dass Tandon remained MLAs, he was the campaign incharge in the recent Lok Sabha polls, and here party candidate Arun Jaitley lost by a margin of more than 18,000 votes.

An ABVP activist from student days, Chugh has never registered an electoral win in his career and in the party circles he often remains in news for shifting loyalties. He was also in controversy relating to his business concerns in Amritsar city.

A former Manoranjan Kalia loyalist, Chugh is now in the party state president Kamal Sharma camp. However, on his visit to Jalandhar on Thursday, Chugh went to Kalia's house for taking his "blessings".

Many in the BJP feel that Chugh's induction in BJP president Amit Shah's team has come after a strong backing from the Kamal Sharma group, but his closeness to the core team members of Prime Minister Narender Modi has led to this.

When Chugh was the state BJYM chief, Modi was party affairs incharge for Punjab, and during electioneering in Gujarat he used to remain on duty in the state when Modi was the chief minister. Before Chugh, the state leaders who have remained in the national team are Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Navjot Sidhu and Balramji Dass Tandon.

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