Denied tickets, some BJP MPs mull over options
Bharat Singh, the BJP MP from Ballia, wrote an angry letter to the party leadership on Thursday after being denied the party ticket from his constituency.
The move came a day after Anshul Verma, the BJP’s Dalit MP from Hardoi, dramatically handed over his resignation to a ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) at the UP BJP office and defected to the Samajwadi Party.
Axed for the Lok Sabha polls, both MPs have challenged the party’s decision, wanting to know the ‘reasons’ for being dropped.
While some like Verma have crossed over to the opposition, others are mulling their ‘options’.
In his letter, Bharat Singh has described himself as ‘janata ka chowkidar’ (watchman of the people) and listed a series of development works undertaken for the constituency.
When asked, State BJP president Dr Mahendra Natha Pandey said Bharat Singh is a senior and respected member of the party. “His feelings will be honoured.”
Pandey, however, said that he had no idea about the letter.
For his part, Verma said, “It’s clear that while the BJP talks of development on public platforms, it’s not enough for securing a ticket at least. Other factors are at work.” Priyanka Rawat, the BJP’s Dalit MP from Barabanki, who was also denied the party ticket, said she was hurt.
“The leadership must explain why the ticket was denied to a woman and a Dalit,” she said.
Before Anshul Verma, Bahraich MP Savitri Bai Phule had defected to the Congress and Allahabad MP Shyama Charan Gupta had switched loyalties to the Samajwadi Party (SP). Before defecting, they had launched a frontal attack on their party leadership, accusing it of being ‘anti-dalit’ and ‘corrupt.’
Chaudhary Babu Lal, the BJP’s Jat MP from Fatehpur Sikri, who has been replaced too, is angry.
“The party needs to at least tell me the reason why I fitted in their scheme of things in 2014 LS polls and why I don’t do so now?” he asked.
Babulal, who also held a panchayat to solicit the views of his supporters, is reported to be weighing his options.
"Some party MPs are in touch with the opposition," a local BJP leader said, adding that while many won't "switch" they would definitely not "work for the party."
In many cases, the sitting MPs like Babu Lal, who have been denied tickets, are questioning their replacement.
It’s not just the BJP that is grappling with dissenters. Other parties like the BSP too are having similar trouble. In Sitapur, for instance, cadres questioned the BSP leadership’s decision to field former minister Nakul Dubey from there.
“We want a local candidate,” a BSP leader said in Sitapur.
But it is the BJP that is witnessing maximum dissent after dropping 13 MPs while declaring 62 candidates for Lok Sabha polls in UP.
Even though the BJP is yet to declare its Rae Bareli candidate, Ajay Agarwal has written a letter to the party leadership to forewarn it of risking “anger of Vaishya” community if he were ‘dropped’.
He had unsuccessfully contested against UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in 2014.
Earlier, Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj warned the party of an OBC backlash if he were to be dropped.
The BJP MP quickly disowned the letter later and found his name retained on the BJP list that was issued shortly after.
“I think what you describe as dissent showcases the value of a BJP ticket. I won’t call it rebellion. That’s media vocabulary. See, ultimately a ticket can be given to one candidate in each seat. But, why aren’t you seeing a similar situation in other parties? It’s because their ticket hardly has any value and it’s the BJP alone where chances of winning are the most,” BJP leader Navin Srivastava said.
Former union minister Ram Shankar Katheria, the party’s Dalit MP from Agra has been moved to Etawah, his home district but his supporters don’t seem too happy. BJP leaders say that the decision to shift Katheria out of Agra was taken on the basis of “survey reports” that included assessment of local MLAs of the party. The cadres have also expressed their resentment against several other BJP leaders. For instance in Bansgaon, the Lok Sabha constituency adjacent to Gorakhpur, the cadres have raised slogans, “Modi-Yogi se bair nahi, Kamlesh teri khair nahi (we don’t have any problems with Modi or Yogi but Kamlesh better watch out now)”.
In Shahjahanpur, supporters of union minister Krishna Raj, the sitting MP, have blamed a “powerful UP minister” for her being denied a ticket.
"I don't think BJP chief Amit Shah is unduly bothered about defectors or protestors. Given his style of functioning, he must already be thinking ahead. All the same, in an election that is expected to be fiercely contested, such anger may not be good news. In a majority of the cases, the sitting MPs have refused to accept their replacement," said Athar Siddiqui of the Centre for Objective Research and Development.
DCP Mohit Handa has been transferred to Yamunanagar. The officer was earlier posted as AIG provisioning. Panchkula DC asks officials to dispose of pending applications Surinder Pal Singh, who took over as DCP, Panchkula, from DCP Mohit Handa on Monday directed departments concerned to take all applications received on Invest Haryana portal regarding various government services on priority basis and dispose of the same at the earliest. Kaushik made the statement while presiding over the meeting of the district-level clearance committee and district-level grievance committee.
Vice-chancellor of Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University Prof HK Chaudhary said hydroponics, the technique to grow plants in nutrient-rich water, was suitable for hills and will help boost the income of the small farmers in states like Himachal. Prof Chaudhary was speaking during a media visit to the hydroponic unit in the research farm of the Department of Vegetable Science and Floriculture.
Two days after a speeding Range Rover SUV rammed into a parked car on NH-44 in Ambala, killing a man and injuring three, its driver has also been booked for misbehaving with the cops on duty. Following the accident, the SUV driver, identified as a resident of Panipat, 26, Variyata Janglan, was arrested and sent to Central Jail, Ambala in judicial custody.
Three days after at least four unidentified men robbed a Mahindra XUV 500 owned by a Shimla resident on the Ambala-Chandigarh highway, police on Monday arrested a suspect from Haridwar for his alleged involvement in the case. The accused, Vikas Mann of Karnal's Bala village, claims to be a law-graduate from a private university in Mohali and practising at Punjab and Haryana high court.
While rain and thunderstorm brought respite from the scorching heat, residents had to contend with long power outages across the district on Monday. With the high-velocity winds uprooting trees and branches power cuts, extending up to 12 hours were, witnessed in Model Town, BRS Nagar, Anand Nagar, Dugri, Giaspura, Sarabha Nagar, Civil Lines, Jalandhar Bypass, Industrial Area, Basant Avenue, Dholewal, Chandigarh Road, and Gill Road among other areas.