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Unease puts list on hold

Patna, March 13: A raging rebellion in the ruling JD(U) today forced the party leadership to hold back its list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls.

Several ministers and MPs stormed the hotel room of JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav to protest against the “manner” in which candidates were being picked.

Ministers Narendra Singh and Brishen Patel and the party’s sitting MP from Supaul, Vishwamohan Kumar, were those who complained to Sharad about “renegades” from other parties being offered tickets at the expense of old loyalists.

The bone of contention, sources said, are the seats of Bhagalpur, Madhubani, Khagaria, Purnea and Supaul where the JD(U) is said to have decided on fielding “outsiders”— those who have joined the party at the eleventh hour mainly from the RJD and BJP.

Sources said the JD(U) had promised tickets to Abu Kaiser, Shakuni Choudhary and Ghulam Gaus — all recent entrants from the RJD where they had been ignored — from the seats of Bhagalpur, Khagaria and Madhubani respectively. Besides, the party is also believed to have zeroed in on the BJP’s Baisi MLA, Santosh Kushwaha, for a ticket to contest against the BJP’s sitting MP from Purnea, Uday Singh.

Nitish Kumar has already announced the candidature of Awanish Kumar — a BJP MLA from Chiraiya who crossed over to the JD(U) during the chief minister’s Sankalp Yatra in Champaran region — from East Champaran.

“It is highly objectionable that so many renegades are being given tickets,” Narendra Singh, the agriculture minister, told reporters as he emerged from Sharad’s room in a city hotel. “We have no objection to the inclusion of members from other parties in the JD(U). They should be honoured. But giving them tickets straightaway will hurt the loyal party cadres toiling hard in the field for the party’s cause for decades,” he added.

Narendra said there should be a parliamentary board in the party for deciding on recommendations on candidates from the districts. “The party does not have a democratic system,” he said.

Vishwamohan Kumar, who fears losing his Supaul seat to “someone else”, agreed. “An outsider will never be acceptable from the Supaul seat,” he said.

Sharad, who too had reportedly expressed his displeasure over the list of candidates by mysteriously flying off to New Delhi yesterday and coming back to Patna again in the evening, tried to play down the rebellion. “I am here to settle issues if they are there. Politics is changing. Moral values are eroding. But we have work on hand to settle the issues,” he said.

Sources said Sharad could fly to New Delhi to announce the list from there to avoid confronting the rebellious cadres in his ranks in Patna.


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