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Ticket rage singes BJP

New Delhi/Ranchi, Jan. 9: BJP offices in Dhanbad and Ranchi were ransacked today by irate supporters of MLAs dropped from the list of party candidates for next month's Assembly election in Jharkhand.

Announcing the second and final list of 12 candidates, the BJP has denied tickets to 9 sitting legislators for the next Assembly poll.

In Dhanbad, supporters of HRD minister P.N. Singh jumped the gun and began protesting against the delay in declaring the party nominee as Dhanbad did not figure on the first list released yesterday.

Apprehending that Singh would 'be denied' re-nomination, his supporters burnt effigies, damaged furniture and roughed up district president Raj Sinha during the day only to find the central election committee announcing 'Singh' as the party nominee from Dhanbad.

Sinha added to the confusion by declaring that his allegiance was to the party and not to individuals. Irate Singh supporters resigned en masse and sat on a dharna.

They also tried to set fire to the office, but were restrained by senior leaders. The show of resentment led to second thoughts and the central election committee decided to re-nominate Singh to keep Marandi out.

Supporters of commercial taxes minister Ramjilal Sarda, who has been dropped from Hatia constituency in favour of industrialist K.K. Poddar, went on the rampage in Ranchi later in the evening soon after the central committee released a list of candidates for 13 seats in the state, finalised on Sunday.

The BJP also dropped another heavyweight, former finance minister and Speaker of Jharkhand Assembly Mrigendra Pratap Singh from the prestigious Jamshedpur (West) constituency and nominated Saryu Roy, a close confidante of chief minister Arjun Munda and former Bihar MLC to contest the seat.

The party relied heavily on new faces and in the list released today, as many as seven happen to be fresh candidates. Barring Roy and Poddar, other new entrants to the electoral fray include Raj Paliwal from Madhupur, Manohar Tekriwal from Godda, Rakesh Prasad from Ramgarh and Jawahar Banra from Jagannathpur.

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