The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rebels, irate parivar spell trouble for BJP

Lucknow, Oct. 31: With a number of Uttar Pradesh BJP leaders singing their own tune and sister parivar outfits unhappy, the party appears to be floundering in the state.

The state leadership is watching in silence as its Amethi MLA and former minister Amita Singh openly backs Congress chief Sonia Gandhi as the next Prime Minister and not Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Amita is the wife of Sanjay Singh, the former BJP MP who recently returned to the Congress.

Another former minister and MLA, Amarjeet Singh Janasewak of Bindki, is so enamoured of chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav that he has offered to vacate his seat for the Samajwadi Party leader.

Former rebel Badshah Singh continues his campaign for a separate state of Bundelkhand in open defiance of the BJP’s stand that there will be no smaller states.

Though a senior state leader said “the BJP in Uttar Pradesh is in a state of coma”, the party’s state spokesman put up a brave front. Hriday Nath Dixit insisted the BJP was on a comeback trail. “The party is now ready to gear up and revive the Ram temple agitation,” he said.

But the drubbing the party leaders received from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad at a meeting of parivar outfits in Lucknow on Wednesday belies their claim.

RSS sources said VHP leaders openly accused their state BJP counterparts of “backstabbing the temple movement” and warned them against expecting any help from the VHP during polls.

Expressing concern over the BJP’s depleting votebank, RSS joint general secretary Madan Das Devi bluntly told its state leaders that the temple issue would be their only saviour during the Lok Sabha polls next year.

The 12-hour marathon meeting of the RSS, VHP, BJP, the Bajrang Dal and others was held at Niralanagar Shishu Siksha Sadan here to take stock of the BJP’s situation, post-Mayavati.

Apart from state BJP chief Vinay Katiyar, senior leaders Kalraj Mishra, Om Prakash Singh and Lalji Tandon participated. They spent most of the time blaming each other.

Mishra openly held infighting among senior state leaders responsible for the lack of direction among the party’s rank and file. Om Prakash questioned legislature party chief Tandon’s handling of the situation.

He pointed out that Tandon had been openly saying he knew of some party MLAs hobnobbing with Mulayam Singh. “If the leader of the legislature party says this and does not take action against those breaking the discipline, you cannot blame anyone for the state of anarchy,” he reportedly told RSS and VHP leaders.

Devi was open about his disappointment with state BJP leaders. “Since hands of the party central leaders are tied with the NDA agenda, the second-rung leadership, particularly from states like Uttar Pradesh, should come forward to take over the temple movement as it is the only issue which can keep the party’s votebank intact,” he said.

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