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Dissension plagues BJP, Cong in Raj

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress in Rajasthan are facing dissension over the selection of candidates for the coming general election.
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, Jaipur
PUBLISHED ON APR 12, 2004 06:49 PM IST

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress in Rajasthan are facing dissension over the selection of candidates for the coming general election.

The BJP and the Congress are facing the wrath of party workers in some 12 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state for which they have declared their candidates.

"This is not a good sign for the parties," a political analyst said, noting both parties might suffer if things were not sorted out quickly.

The desert state goes to polls May 5.

There is strong resentment in the BJP at the nomination of an outside candidate from Dausa constituency, from where late central minister Rajesh Pilot's son Sachin Pilot of the Congress is also contesting.

The BJP has nominated Kartar Singh Bhadana, a former minister in the government of Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala.

Bhadana resigned from Chautala's Indian National Lok Dal to contest as a BJP candidate.

Similarly, BJP leaders of Alwar constituency are unable to digest the party's choice of Baba Chandnath, who they consider to be an outsider. Chandnath, who hails from Rohtak in Haryana, is contesting against Congress nominee Karan Singh Yadav.

In Bhilwara constituency, the BJP ignored demands from party workers against re-nominating B.P. Singh. The decision to field Singh again has been openly criticised by BJP workers.

The scenario in the Congress camp is equally bad, with party workers strongly opposed to the fielding of Sanjay Gurjar from Jhalawar constituency.

Gurjar will be up against the BJP' Dushayant Singh, who is the son of the chief minister Vasundhara Raje.

After Gurjar was named the Congress candidate for this seat, the party's district president and senior leader Mansingh switched over to the BJP.

Some Congress legislators have also expressed their displeasure at the nomination of Hari Mohan Sharma from Kota constituency.

Senior Congress leaders, including former state minister Madho Singh Diwan, have resigned to protest the nomination of Surendra Surana from Pali constituency.

Even in seats like Jaipur, from where Pratap Singh Khachriawas, nephew of Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat is contesting, dissent in the Congress is visible. Khachriawas is up against Girdhari Lal Bhargava of the BJP.

In Jodhpur constituency, the Congress has for the first time nominated a Jat leader named Badriram Jakhar, a move that has not been openly welcomed by party workers.

Dissatisfaction among Congress workers is also noticeable in Jalore constituency, where Buta Singh is trying his luck, and in Churu where senior leader Balram Jakhar is the party's candidate.

Buta Singh has so far been unable to win the support of the two the Congress legislators from that area and Jakhar is also trying to mend fences with former MPs Narendra Budhania and Jaisingh, two leaders who could play a crucial role in the election campaign.

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