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BJP list sparks unrest, many activists quit

Strong unrest prevailed among BJP men in Chhattisgarh over distribution of tickets for forthcoming polls. The first list includes 72 names out of 90, reports PK Maitra.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2003 13:04 IST

Strong resentment prevailed among rank and file in the Chhattisgarh unit of Bharatiya Janata Party over distribution of tickets for the forthcoming elections.

The party released its first list of 72 candidates, out of 90 in Delhi on Thursday.

According to available information, a large number of party activists even resigned from their posts in protest against the nomination of party candidates.

Some party leaders even threatened the leadership with "serious consequences" as they would pit themselves against the party candidates, making the going difficult for official nominees.

A large section of party leaders felt that the RSS men controlled the distribution of tickets and the genuine BJP workers were ignored in several constituencies.

The national general secretary (Organisation) and in-charge of Chhattisgarh, Sanjay Joshi and the state general secretary (Organisation), Saudan Singh, both hard-core ex-pracharaks, virtually dictated terms in distributing tickets.

In Sipat (Bilaspur), one Arun Tiwari, one of the strong contenders for the ticket, stormed the district party office on Thursday afternoon and created scene. He reportedly warned the leadership, particularly the Union Minister of State for Forests and Environment, Dilip Singh Judeo, with `serious consequences' in the coming elections.

In Dongargarh, a large number of party activists resigned in protest against the nomination of the candidate. The party workers there shocked to know that one Lal Mahendra Singh, an employee of Bhilai Steel Plant, was nominated as the BJP candidate from Dongargarh, ignoring the claim of Tarun Hathel, a senior party leader of the region.

The president and general secretary of Dongargarh Block BJP and couple of party councillors of Dongargarh Municipality have resigned from the primary membership of the party in protest against the nomination of Singh. They accused the party leadership for ignoring the recommendations of local committee for selecting the candidate.

The rebels even gheraoed the senior leaders in the BJP offices at Rajnandgaon and Dongargarh.

Rebellion within the organisation was also witnessed in Bastar region for nominating Devlal Dugga, a Lakhiram Agrawal loyalist, as party nominee from Bhanupratapur. The Lok Sabha member and a senior tribal leader of BJP expressed his strong resentment for fielding him from Bhanupratapur.

A section of party leaders are also annoyed with the leadership for nominating relatives of different party leaders. They include: Ranvijay Pratap Singh (Raigarh constituency), brother of Judeo, Deepak Sahu (Saja), son of Lok Sabha member, Tarachand Sahu, Amar Agrawal (Bilaspur), son of Lakhiram Agrawal, Sidharth Singh (Khairagarh), brother-in-law of state BJP chief, Dr Raman Singh.

Talking to Hindustan Times, a senior state BJP functionary pointed out that the central selection board finalised names of those candidates who have a strong electoral merit, besides a deep-rooted integrity to the party. The party loyalty was the key point this time in view of massive defection of party legislators last year, he added.

As for denying a ticket to Arun Tiwari, an ex-MLA from Sipat, he said that Tiwari had joined the BJP a couple of years back and that's why the party preferred not to give him a ticket. Instead the party, nominated an old guard, Badridhar Diwan.

However, political observers in Chhattisgarh feel that unrest among the party activists over distribution of tickets could turn out to be a messy affair and lead to bitter infighting in the coming elections.

First Published: Nov 07, 2003 00:01 IST