Fernandes leaves for Muzaffarpur, likely to announce poll intent

March 24th, 2009 - 7:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, March 24 (IANS) Senior Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader George Fernandes, who was denied the party ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls, Tuesday left along with hundreds of his supporters for Muzaffarpur from where he is expected to announce that he will contest, in defiance of the party leadership.
Nearly 100 vehicles, mostly luxury cars, drove with Fernandes to Muzaffarpur, where he is slated to hold road shows and meet old socialist leaders over the next two days. “Fernandes is likely to announce he will contest in Muzaffarpur itself,” a JD-U leader close to him said.

Earlier, Fernandes received a hero’s welcome from hundreds of supporters and leaders at the airport upon his arrival from New Delhi.

Soon after his arrival, an upbeat Fernandes along with his supporters left for Muzaffarpur. He postponed his padyatra (march) to the official residence of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with whom he had sought an appointment to talk over the party decision of denying him a ticket. However, he had to cancel the march when he was informed that the chief minister had left for New Delhi.

Fernandes was received at the airport by former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra, rebel JD-U Rajya Sabha MP Digvijay Singh, who was also denied ticket by the party, a JD-U legislator Manoj Kushwaha and hundreds of supporters and followers.

They shouted slogans in support of Fernandes and assured their full support if he contests from Muzaffarpur.

“The gathering of hundreds of supporters and leaders proves the strength of Fernandes, who has been totally sidelined in the party,” Singh said.

Fernandes was to walk down to Nitish Kumar’s official residence to demonstrate that he is in sound health and he can still contest elections. The JD-U had denied Fernandes, 78, ticket on the grounds of ill health.

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