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Yashwant touches raw nerve

- Veteran BJP leader hogs limelight, eyes chief minister’s chair

Hazaribagh, June 8: Jailed BJP leader Yashwant Sinha’s protest against power crisis in Hazaribagh has spread across the state like a wild fire with people in over 10 districts hitting the streets to mount pressure on the electricity board.

While residents came out on the roads in Bokaro, Chatra and Koderma yesterday, the BJP imposed a bandh in Santhal Pargana today. Besides, the party has called a bandh in Hazaribagh tomorrow and in Ramgarh on Tuesday.

Widespread protests are yet to bring about any positive change in the state’s power scenario, but Sinha, sources said, has already managed to touch a raw nerve, gaining the much-needed mileage at a time when Jharkhand is heading towards the Assembly elections.

Insiders claimed Sinha was eyeing the chief minister’s seat and interested to contest from the Hazaribagh Sadar constituency.

The veteran leader, who has been lodged at Loknayak Jai Prakash Narayan Central Jail since June 4 in a case related with a power protest, is apparently keen to keep up the momentum to win over the party central leadership’s confidence.

Sinha has been in denial mode. But close friend and Patna MP Shatrughan Sinha, who visited him yesterday evening at the central jail, called the former external affairs minister a visionary leader.

“He has the potential to take the state on the path of development. He is the best man for the post of chief minister in Jharkhand,” the actor-turned-politician said after meeting the BJP stalwart.

Godda MP Nishikant Dubey, who met him this morning, also pitched for Sinha, lending voice to a major faction of party leaders who have already begun lobbying for a non-tribal chief minister in Jharkhand.

Dubey said Sinha was the most capable and qualified person to sit on the hot chair. “Yashwant Sinha ka kad har post se bada hai (His stature is bigger than any position),” he said, adding that the widespread protests stood testimony to the popularity of Sinha.

However, former chief minister Arjun Munda, who also came to meet Sinha this afternoon, said this was not the right time to think about all these. “This is the time to fight for the issues concerning common people. The total system has collapsed and this government has failed to ensure smooth power supply,” Munda, who is one of the front runners for the chief minister’s chair, said.

He added that the party had called a meeting of senior party leaders in Ranchi on June 12 to decide future course of action.


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