Gadkari mollifies poll-bound Bihar
Disgruntled leaders from poll-bound Bihar managed to push two of their men into the Nitin Gadkari team on Saturday.delhi Updated: Mar 21, 2010 12:00 IST
Disgruntled leaders from poll-bound Bihar managed to push two of their men into the Nitin Gadkari team on Saturday.
State unit president Radha Mohan Singh and Bihar Health Minister Nand Kishore Yadav have been included as special invitees to the national executive, taking the total to 38.
“Both leaders have been inducted as special invitees to the national executive,” confirmed BJP spokeperson Prakash Javdekar.
The inclusion appears to be a way of mollifying the leaders as well as silencing the dissenting voices that had been growing louder since the BJP chief’s announcement of his team earlier this week.
MP Shatrughan Sinha has been repeatedly heard criticising the team, saying leaders like Yashwant Sinha, C.P. Thakur and Uday Singh were ignored, and Sushma Swaraj had not been consulted. In Patna, he said he had spoken to Swaraj and conveyed his concerns.
On Thursday, Thakur had raised an emotive issue to embarrass Gadkari: “Senior leaders from Bihar have been ignored. There is a dominance of Marathis in the team.”
BJP leaders said while there were 16-18 people from Bihar in the team, the participation from Gujarat and Karnataka was lower. “Beneath the discontent is a simmering intra-Bihar feud within the BJP,” said a leader.
There are primarily two issues for a disgruntled Bihar unit, though the reason being highlighted is the elections six months away.
One, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Kiran Ghai — the two Bihar office-bearer — are Kayasths, not a large or politically powerful caste. This has not gone down well with other upper castes like Bhumihar and Rajput, who are politically crucial.
“What will the party gain by promoting Kayasths? Will Kayasths be able to win polls for it?” said a leader from Bihar.
Second, Prasad has been elevated to general secretary and chief spokesperson, which, sources say, Sinha, Shahnawaz Husain and others don’t like.
Husain — who, as a former cabinet minister and the party’s Muslim face, is believed to be sulking at his “demotion” as spokesperson under Prasad — was reportedly unwell and could not be reached for comments.
A leader said when asked about Husain: “We have to believe him when he says he is ill and in hospital; I think he is resting at home.”