BJP faces demand for change in Uttarakhand leadership

June 14th, 2009 - 7:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Dehradun, June 14 (IANS) Smarting from the rout in Uttarakhand in the Lok Sabha elections, a group of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators have called for replacing Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri ahead of assembly polls, according to party sources.
At least 10 of the party’s 34 legislators have sent a letter to party chief Rajnath Singh, seeking replacement of the chief minster and blaming Major General (retd) Khanduri for the party’s rout in Uttarakhand.

The Congress last month won all the five seats in the hill state. In the 2004 elections, the BJP had won three seats, while the Congress and the Samajwadi Party had won one each.

While no legislator was willing to admit having signed such a letter, it was an open secret in the corridors of power in Dehradun.

Though BJP state general secretary Ajay Bhat denied it, a party insider confirmed that prominent among the signatories were Kedar Singh Fonia, Trivendra Singh Rawat, Veena Mehra, Chandan Ram Das and Sher Singh Gharariya.

These legislators had also called on Rajnath Singh before the Lok Sabha elections to raise the same demand, citing “non-performance” of the Khanduri government.

“We have nothing against Khanduri but the fact remains that under his regime we are not in a position to get even the smallest of jobs carried out,” they had pointed out to the party leadership, according to a legislator.

One of the legislators had complained that they were better off in the previous Congress regime as at least their voice was heard.

This legislator, on condition of anonymity, told IANS that they had pointed out to the party leadership that now they do not have free access to the chief minister and when he gives them audience his approach is indifferent and negative.

“Our concern is for the future of the party and unless we deliver we are going to face a worse situation in the state assembly elections that are barely 30 months from now,” the legislator said.

Asked if he favoured Khanduri’s rival Bharat Singh Koshiyari, who had earlier been a strong contender for the top job, he replied: “We have neither anything to do with Koshiyari nor do we hold out anything in person against Khanduri. We are only interested in building the BJP government’s credibility with the masses, who feel neglected.”

He added: “After all, as representatives of people, the least that we are expected to do is fulfilling the promises we made to them but we are not in a position to do so.”

While 10 BJP legislators have sounded the bugle of dissent, several others are ready to follow suit, the party insider said.

The 68-member Uttarakhand assembly also has 19 Congress members, seven of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), three from the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) and four independents.

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