The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tussles stall BJP nominations

New Delhi, Nov. 8: The BJP’s ticket distribution hit roadblocks today with Rajasthan MP Vishwendra Singh resigning from his Lok Sabha seat and the relatives of Madhya Pradesh leaders and central ministers Sumitra Mahajan and Vikram Verma being denied nominations.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad reportedly compounded the party’s problems by demanding its share of seats in Madhya Pradesh from BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu and chief ministerial candidate Uma Bharti. The leaders, according to sources, may attempt a balancing act by accommodating a few of the VHP’s recommendations in order not to alienate the Hindutva base.

A meeting of the party’s central election committee held this evening at Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s residence set for itself the task of finalising the remaining seats for all the four states, but ended up deciding just 35 names for Madhya Pradesh. This left the leaders to clinch the bulk of the nominations for Rajasthan (107 out of 200) and Delhi (35 of 70), 24 for Madhya Pradesh and four for Chhattisgarh.

With the VHP flexing its muscles, BJP leaders left to Naidu the onus of sorting out the remaining names for Madhya Pradesh. But the central poll panel will meet again tomorrow to deal with the other three seats, in the resolution of which the greatest obstacle was being set up by Rajasthan.

Sources said Vajpayee was keen that the nominations be completed by Sunday as he would be preoccupied for most of Monday with his overseas trip starting on November 11.

Barely had the BJP got over the Madhya Pradesh glitches, which came into focus when Bharti and Verma openly quarrelled at a meeting of state leaders, than it was confronted this morning with the resignation of Singh, the Bharatpur MP.

Singh, a scion of the Bharatpur royal family, faxed his resignation to the Prime Minister and senior Rajasthan leader Ramdas Aggarwal. The letter said he was “upset” with the selection of candidates from Kumhar and Bajana which are part of his Lok Sabha constituency.

Singh, who was opposed to the nomination of Vasundhara Raje as chief minister, alleged he was not consulted. “I am firm in my decision. I will not withdraw my resignation. Tickets for Rajasthan Assembly polls are being distributed without taking into consideration the contribution of party workers,” agencies quoted him as having said.

Sources close to Singh said he conveyed in his letter to Vajpayee that if the “deficiencies” were not rectified, his resignation should be forwarded to the Lok Sabha Speaker.

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