The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Eye on polls, BJP seeks end to rows

Ranchi, Oct. 13: BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu today asked the party’s state organisation to take steps to end the controversies surrounding the BJP in Jharkhand and improve coordination among party cadre in the light of the forthcoming panchayat and Lok Sabha polls.

At a review meeting at the BJP headquarters in Delhi, attended by chief minister Arjun Munda, Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Karia Munda, party vice-president Babulal Marandi and state secretary Hridaynath Singh, the leadership stressed the need to improve the government’s performance to appeal to the electorate.

Marandi told The Telegraph that the leadership expressed concern that polls for only three district units had been held so far.

“We assured the party leadership that the process would be completed by the first week of November and the state unit election would be held by mid-November,” he said.

Karia Munda said media management was also discussed and it was resolved that steps should be taken to shore up the party’s image in the state.

“We are fast entering the election mode — with the panchayat polls, followed by the Lok Sabha and Assembly runs. There is a need to improve the party-government relationship. For this, both the party and the government should immediately act.”

Organisational elections have been delayed because of infighting within the party in the state and even a “dispute resolution committee” failed to put an end to the controversies. Sections of the party have alleged large-scale irregularities in the organisational elections.

Besides, party leader Saryu Rai had last week locked horns with another section of the party over the renewal of membership of former Ranchi MLA Gulshan Lal Ajmani.

The leadership woke up to the need to pull up its socks with the chief minister promising on October 10 to announce panchayat poll dates within 15 days.

Sources said the government would soon request the state election commission to announce these dates.

“As Jharkhand High Court has already directed that panchayat polls should be held by March, the government cannot further delay the elections,” said the sources.

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