The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Mafia’ mud on Marandi model

Jan. 20: As chief minister Babulal Marandi today called for financial transparency as a precursor to political transparency in the BJP, former Hazaribagh district party president K.P. Sharma kicked up a storm by alleging that he had to resign early this month because “mafia elements” have made inroads into the organisation.

“I have been the district BJP president for five terms. Mafia elements have entered the party. I was feeling suffocated. Despite 33 years of association with the Jansangh and the BJP, I had no option but to quit,” Sharma said.

External affairs minister Yashwant Sinha and the chief minister represent the district in Parliament and Assembly respectively.

Marandi’s call for transparency came at a meeting in Ranchi to launch the party’s lifetime contribution campaign. Fifty per cent of the amount collected under this head would go to the party’s central wing and the rest to the state unit.

But Sharma raised a banner of revolt in Hazaribagh and said he felt humiliated on January 2 when deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani visited the district. “My party workers and I were treated badly on that day. I was not even invited to the meeting. I lodged a complaint with the state party president and the organising secretary, but nothing happened,” Sharma said.

“I was told that the function was official but it was so only for me. Due to continuous humiliation, I decided to step aside two months before the election of the district party president so that no one makes an allegation that I misused my powers,” he added.

Sharma did not level any direct allegation against the external affairs minister, but he dropped hints that he was targeting Sinha. “It is obvious why I resigned from the post. I gave the verbal resignation on January 2 and sent a fax on January 8,” he said.

BJP organising secretary Hridaynath Singh denied in Ranchi that Sharma resigned because he was being sidelined. He said Sharma quit because of bad health.

But party sources said “politics” in the district unit had compelled Sharma to quit. “He was never invited to any function presided over by Yashwant Sinha. When Sharma last contested for the post of district president, another faction opposed to him took the help of mafia elements to defeat him,” a source said.

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