The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rajnath thorn rankles state BJP

Ranchi, April 13: After the Santhal Pargana-Chhotanagpur faction tussle plaguing the ruling BJP since Arjun Munda’s ascension as chief minister, another conflict over the “interference of rank outsiders” in the state party’s affairs has now raised its head.

The resentment surfaced today on the sidelines of the BJP’s foundation day function here, attended by party general-secretary in charge of Jharkhand Rajnath Singh, who was the chief guest.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s entry in state politics has signalled the departure of veteran Kailashpati Mishra, who quit as BJP vice-president at the recent party national executive in Indore.

He is reportedly expecting Governorship, most likely of neighbouring Chhattisgarh.

BJP sources said Mishra had to leave the scene a “defeated man” as he could not save the Babulal Marandi government despite his public posturing that it was safe.

“Singh, on the contrary, is perceived as the person who put the last nail in the coffin of the Marandi government,” the sources said. “It was only after his arrival in Ranchi that the political drama, started by dissident non-BJP ministers, took a new turn and Marandi was forced to resign.”

A senior BJP MP, who refused to be named, said Rajnath’s entry was “unfortunate” because “he has been guiding the party according to his own wishes”.

“So far, the party in Jharkhand had remained aloof from the influence of backstage managers. But the situation has suddenly changed in the past few weeks.”

Though a section of the BJP considered Mishra a leader from Bihar, an influential faction considered him inseparable from the party’s affairs in the Jharkhand region.

“With Mishra gone, yet another (power) pole is taking shape in the party. New entrants from the party’s urban support base have begun calling the shots now.”

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