| Mangal Pandey addresses the news meet in Patna on Saturday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Patna, Jan. 19: Newly elected state BJP chief Mangal Pandey, unlike his predecessor Dr C.P. Thakur, wants to tread cautiously on issues related to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
Asked if Modi would attend the Hunkar Rally in Patna on April 15, Pandey said: “The programmes of the BJP are decided at the central level.”
In October, Thakur had said that Modi would take part in the rally, creating a piquant situation in the NDA.
“We will invite Modi to address the rally. It is another matter whether he will attend the rally or not. If he wishes to come, no one can stop him,” Thakur had then said.
In his first official interaction with journalists today, Pandey used the safe “thank you” phrase when scribes asked him whether he would communicate the feelings and sentiments of party cadres who raised pro-Modi slogans at the party’s state council meet convened to endorse his election.
Several workers and district office-bearers chanted slogans in Narendra Modi’s favour despite the BJP high command backing deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi’s choice — Pandey — for the party’s top post in the state.
The state BJP chief took over the party’s reins formally yesterday.
The cautious approach of Pandey, who is Bihar deputy chief minister’s Sushil Kumar Modi’s protege, assumes significance as he has been chosen to take the alliance forward without hurting Nitish Kumar who maintains a distance with his Gujarat counterpart.
Pandey announced that the party would burn the effigy of the UPA government’s to protest against the eight-year regime that witnessed sky-rocketing prices, especially of petroleum and essential commodities. “Party workers and leaders would burn effigies at every district headquarters,” he added.
Taking a resolve to uproot the UPA government, which has been mired in several scams and corruption charges, the newly elected BJP state chief said Bihar would play a bigger role in uprooting the UPA government in the 2014 general elections by capturing all the 40 seats in NDA’s kitty.
Pandey added that the BJP would organise a massive rally to protest against the UPA government’s step-motherly treatment meted out to Bihar on every count, be it power allocation, fertiliser allocation, granting coal linkage or according special category status for all-round development.
The party has also made grand arrangements to celebrate Jan Nayak Karpoori Thakur’s birth anniversary on January 24 at Patna’s Rabindra Bhavan. At the news meet, Pandey was accompanied by Araria BJP MP Pradeep Singh, legislator Renu Devi and senior leader Sanjay Mayukh.