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Polls over, parties take stock of infighting in Gujarat

With the elections over, the knives are out in both the Congress and the ruling BJP camps in Gujarat as the two state units sort out their intra-party wrangles.
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, Ahmedabad
PUBLISHED ON APR 27, 2004 06:00 PM IST

With the elections over, the knives are out in both the Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) camps in Gujarat as the two state units sort out their intra-party wrangles.

Though there were reports of party workers working at cross-purposes during the election campaign, leaderships in both camps have only now had time to take up the issue - after polling for all 26 parliamentary constituencies got over Tuesday.

BJP state president and candidate from Bhavnagar constituency Rajendrasinh Rana has shot off a missive to the national party president M. Venkaiah Naidu seeking disciplinary action against two local legislators of his party.

"I have written to the party president seeking action against Mahendra Trivedi and Sunil Oza for anti-party activities," he told reporters, adding that the two had worked against the party during the recent election campaign.

He said he had brought the matter to Naidu's attention two months ago.

Trivedi, who represents Bhavnagar, 200 km from here, in the state assembly had made a presentation before the party seeking the parliamentary ticket from the city.

Before the candidates were selected, Trivedi had gone to the press accusing Rana, who represented Bhavnagar in the last Lok Sabha, lower house of parliament, of neglecting the constituency. He had claimed that he could represent the constituency better than Rana.

Rana, who has served two terms as the state unit president and three terms in the Lok Sabha, had refused to make a public comment then.

Purushottam Solanki, another legislator, had also sought the party ticket to contest from Bhavnagar. He, however, supported the official candidate once the names were announced.

Bhavnagar recorded a meagre 35 percent polling in the absence of support from local legislators in canvassing for the BJP candidate, affecting Rana's chances of being re-elected.

Political observers pointed out that factionalism in the BJP had been made public during the run-up to the elections, which may mar the party's chances in other constituencies as well.

The opposition Congress faced a similar situation where some party workers allegedly indulged in anti-party activities during the campaign.

There was rebellion in the party once the official candidate for the Kutch constituency Shailendrasinh Jadeja's was selected.

Haribhai Patel walked over to the BJP, while legislator Nima Acharya wrote to the party president with her objections. She is reportedly facing action for working against the interests of the party.

The result is that the Congress might lose in Kutch, even though it is considered a weak seat for the BJP.

There other constituencies where the Congress workers did not cooperate with the official party candidates and there might be disciplinary action against them, said party sources.

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