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‘Upset’ Sinha skips Delhi BJP meeting

Ranchi, March 12: Yashwant Sinha today skipped a BJP parliamentary board meeting in Delhi, a day after he was said to have offered to quit the party’s national executive body to protest the appointment of Ravindra Rai as its Jharkhand unit president.

The Hazaribagh MP, who was part of a section of the party including Raghubar Das, Sarayu Rai and Karia Munda that was opposed to Rai, was also said to have offered to give up his Lok Sabha seat.

Sinha told The Telegraph over phone that he had “some other engagement today”. Asked if he was unhappy with the party affairs, he retorted, “When I am not discussing such things with any mediaperson, why should I be doing that with you? Please don’t ask me such personal questions.”

Sinha is believed to be unhappy with the way BJP president Rajnath Singh appointed Rai. According to party insiders, Singh was set to announce someone else’s name at 3pm on the basis of Sinha’s recommendation on Saturday.

But former chief minister Arjun Munda sent a proposal offering to quit the BJP legislature party leader’s chair at 1.30pm. After going through the contents of Munda’s letter, Singh declared the name of Rai, an aide of the former.

“The actual reasons behind Sinha’s unhappiness are not known to anyone at the moment, because the appointment of a state chief is not a big issue. Being a disciplined BJP worker, it is not possible for me comment anything beyond this at the moment. We, too, are keeping a watch on the developments within the party,” said BJP national executive body member Sarayu Rai.

Incidentally, Sinha has repeatedly clarified he is not interested in becoming the Jharkhand chief minister.

He is apparently content with his role in the party’s national politics. But his “rebellion” at a time when Jharkhand faces the likely prospect of fresh Assembly polls, followed by parliamentary elections next year has raised eyebrows.

“The BJP national president should talk to Sinha at the earliest and iron out the differences. Such a situation is not good for the party’s health. All of us need to fight together on every front,” said senior BJP leader Raghubar Das.

Rajnath Singh was in Calcutta when Sinha apparently offered to resign at a BJP parliamentary committee core group meeting in Delhi. Singh asked the former external affairs minister not to take any step until he returned.

BJP state chief Rai claimed there was no dissension in the party and that he even enjoyed Sinha’s blessings.

The central BJP leadership has summoned state unit chief Rai and Das to Delhi, sources said. Rai left for the capital this evening.