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BJP family feud out in open

Patna, Feb. 12: Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi’s iron-grip control over the BJP’s Bihar unit has been challenged by former state president Dr C.P. Thakur, who alleged that the party has been “hijacked” and has become a “pocket organisation”.

Thakur, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, raised the name of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, suggesting that those promoting his (Modi’s) name were being sidelined in the party.

A day after state BJP president Mangal Pandey announced the new list of office-bearers and its working committee members, Thakur said the core committee members were not consulted before finalising the names.

Thakur was “unhappy” over the exclusion of his supporters in the new committee and held the deputy chief minister responsible for it. Several BJP leaders, including minister Chandra Mohan Rai, have spoken openly about their displeasure over the development.

The core committee includes Thakur, Sushil Kumar Modi, road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav, health minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Motihari MP Radhamohan Singh and state BJP organising secretary Nagendra.

According to Thakur, BJP president Pandey has drafted the new committee on the instructions of Modi.

“I have come to know that the new committee list was made in Sushil Modi’s chamber and not in the BJP office,” Thakur said.

The former party chief vowed to raise the issue on the formation of the new state committee before the central BJP leadership and even before Rajnath Singh, the national president of the party.

“The BJP is heading towards a one man show (referring to Modi). If the new committee members are not changed, its ramifications would be felt in the next parliamentary elections,” Thakur said.

Thakur added that he did not regret highlighting the name of Narendra Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

The BJP-JD(U) alliance in Bihar has paid rich dividends for both the partners in the past 16 years. However, a section of the BJP leaders feel that their party has been marginalised to play second fiddle after the alliance came to power in 2005 and the party allowed Nitish Kumar to take all the credit of the NDA government in Bihar.

They blame Sushil Kumar Modi for conceding too much ground to the alliance. This section of leaders has been advocating the name of Narendra Modi as PM candidate even at the cost of earning the wrath of JD(U) leaders. On the other hand, Modi and his followers want the alliance to survive and do not want to antagonise Nitish by projecting Narendra Modi as the PM candidate. This is not the first time that differences within the BJP have been aired publicly. During the election of Mangal Pandey as the new BJP president, there were chants raised in favour of the Gujarat chief minister by party workers and leaders at the function for installing Pandey as the state party president. The Bihar deputy CM spoke in favour of the alliance, insisting that emotions do not count in winning elections.

With Thakur on the warpath, the Sushil Kumar Modi faction is reluctant to take him on. Pandey refused to comment on the statement made by Thakur. Modi also remained evasive despite several attempts by The Telegraph to contact him. Insiders say that Modi and his followers are reluctant to take on Thakur directly because he is a highly respected member of a caste, which is crucial for the BJP’s electoral politics.