End infighting, Advani tells Jharkhand BJP

March 7th, 2009 - 3:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, March 7 (IANS) A worried Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Saturday asked leaders of his party in Jharkhand to set aside their differences and gear up for the Lok Sabha election.
In a closed-door meeting with party leaders in Jamshedpur, Advani voiced unhappiness over reports of infighting in the party and statements issued to the media by local leaders, a party insider said.

The meeting was attended by dissidents, those cleared to fight the elections and state party president Raghubar Das.

Of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand, the BJP plans to contest 11. Many legislators are reportedly unhappy with the choice of candidates.

Dissension came to the fore Thursday when a BJP worker, Vishnukant Jha, was beaten and stripped by members of a rival group at Jasidih railway station.

BJP legislators and workers have reported to have ganged up against five candidates: Nishikant Dubey (Godda), former chief minister Arjun Munda (Jamshedpur), P.N. Singh (Dhanbad), Ravindra Pandey (Giridih) and Sudarsan Bhagat (Lohardagga).

In Lohardagga, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad, the party has changed the earlier candidates.

In Jamshedpur, BJP legislator Dinesh Sarangi had fought the 2007 Lok Sabha by-election and lost. He threatened to quit the party after being denied the ticket this year.

When Arjun Munda reached Jamshedpur three days ago, no legislator welcomed him.

Three legislators - Raj Paliwar, Ashok Kumar and Tala Marandi - are unhappy over the candidate picked for the Godda seat. In Giridih too, legislators are opposed to the party candidate.

The BJP has high hopes of bagging many seats in Jharkhand although it won only one in 2004. In 1999, the BJP won 12 seats.

The lone BJP Lok Sabha MP of 2004, Babulal Marandi, quit the party in 2006 and resigned from the Lok Sabha. He later won the Koderma seat as an independent candidate.

Former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha will contest from Hazaribagh. Sinha lost in 2004.

Asked about the infighting in the party, state unit president Raghubar Das told IANS: “Everything has been sorted out.”

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