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Tickets booked, all’s well in BJP

Patna, March 20: Shatrughan Sinha and Ashwini Kumar Choubey — the two BJP leaders who feared denial of party tickets — were all smiles today after getting a chance to contest from Patna Sahib and Buxar respectively.

Sinha, the sitting MP from Patna Sahib, had aired his unhappiness after his name did not figure in the party’s first list of candidates declared on March 15.

Shotgun, as the film actor-turned-politician is popularly called, openly declared that Patna Sahib was his “first and last choice” when the BJP central leadership reportedly tried to ask him to contest from Delhi.

Sources said the BJP’s central leadership sensed “anti incumbency” gaining ground against Shotgun in Patna Sahib and, thus, wanted to shift him elsewhere.

Defending his stand, Sinha said: “There is no anti-incumbency factor against me in Patna Sahib. Had it been so, I would have settled for the other seat that the party was offering me.” Despite Shatrughan’s denial of any anti-incumbency factor, a group of persons under the banner of Lokhit Yuva Vikash Manch clashed with BJP supporters today. Sources said the Lokhit Vikash Manch men were opposed to Sinha’s candidature from Patna Sahib.

The incident reportedly took place when Sinha was inside the party office.

The group, comprising of 20-25 people carrying black flags, tried to enter the party office but BJP workers stopped them there.

For about fifteen minutes, the stretch outside the BJP office turned into a battlefield with the two groups coming to blows. However, the protesters left as BJP members outnumbered them.

Lalit Narayan Singh, secretary of the Lokhit Vikash Manch, said: “We were protesting Sinha’s candidature as despite being a MP from Patna Sahib his visibility in the constituency is minimal. Instead of serving the people here, he spends most of his time in Delhi or Mumbai.”

Ashwini Kumar Choubey, another state BJP leader who was earlier unhappy with the party’s ticket distribution, tried to put up a brave face today, claiming the party was united. Choubey, who has been given the Buxar seat, said: “I am grateful that the party considered me worthy of contesting from Buxar Lok Sabha seat.”

Choubey was the first person to air his grievance against the party’s state and central leadership when his name did not figure in the first list of candidates announced on March 15.

Choubey was asking for the Bhagalpur seat and had suggested that the party move sitting Bhagalpur MP Shahnawaz Hussain to the Muslim-dominated Kishanganj seat. But after getting the ticket to contest from Buxar, he did a U-turn, saying: “Though I am contesting from Buxar, I will also work for Shahnawaz Hussain’s victory from Bhagalpur as it is my home constituency.”

Choubey will file his nomination on March 24 after paying obeisance at Deoghar temple. Sinha will file his nomination on Friday.


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