More dissent in BJP, Ranjita Dhama to contest as independent candidate from Loni
Ranjita Dhama, in her letter to the party brass, said she opposed the ticket given to sitting MLA Nand Kishor Gurjar, and also alleged that the MLA was involved in a conspiracy that landed her husband, Manoj Dhama, in jail in a criminal case last year.Manoj Dhama is an accused in a rape case, but he denied the charges and claimed that he was the victim of a conspiracy
A day after she wrote to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state unit in Uttar Pradesh, offering to resign from the party along with her husband, Loni Nagar Palika chairperson Ranjita Dhama on Thursday filed her nomination as an independent candidate from Loni.
Dhama, in her letter to the party brass, said she opposed the ticket given to sitting MLA Nand Kishor Gurjar, and also alleged that the MLA was involved in a conspiracy that landed her husband, Manoj Dhama, in jail in a criminal case last year.Manoj Dhama is an accused in a rape case, but he denied the charges and claimed that he was the victim of a conspiracy.
Dhama, 45, got elected as the chairperson of the Loni Nagar Palika in the 2017 local body elections from a seat reserved for women. Prior to her election, Manoj had served as the chairperson of the Loni Nagar Palika.
Dhama had studied till class 12 and was one of eight women who contested for the post of Loni Nagar Palika chairperson.
“When people join any party, (s)he expects that the party will respect them. In 2009, BJP leader Rajnath Singh got my husband and I to join the party and we have worked hard since then to maintain the party’s image in Loni. But now, the party has given a ticket to the very person who worked to land my husband in jail. I had openly declared earlier that if a ticket is given to Nand Kishor Gurjar, I will contest against him as an independent. After the declaration of ticket, I waited for two days for a call from a party leader or office bearer but none came,” said Dhama outside the district election office in Ghaziabad on Thursday.
She said that she will not withdraw her nominations in any circumstance.
“This election, I will fight to win and to defeat the candidate who has been fielded by the BJP. I will send them packing. My husband supported the party during the 2017 election. But now I have been sidelined and I see no respect for women. I have resigned from the party and I am not bound by the party rules,” she said.
Gurjar, BJP’s sitting MLA and candidate from Loni, did not respond to calls seeking his comment on the allegations levelled by Dhama.
Dinesh Singhal, BJP’s district president said the decision to field sitting MLAs was taken by the party’s top leadership.
“We will speak to Ranjita Dhama and we are hopeful that the issues will be sorted out. The allegations about her husband’s case are part of a court matter. Our prospects will not suffer as a result of her contesting as an independent,” Singhal said.
Political experts, however, said the dissent within its fold may affect the BJP’s prospects.
“It is generally seen that a party worker remains loyal to the party while that is not the case when it comes to party leaders. They often change sides. The dissent by Dhama is but natural and that may pose problems for the party in Loni,” said KK Sharma, associate professor (history), MM College, Modinagar.
Dhama is the only woman candidate from Loni and is pitted against heavyweights Gurjar of the BJP, and Madan Bhaiya of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD-SP alliance candidate), besides others.