The Telegraph
Wednesday , March 5 , 2014
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Tea flavour of dissent

Patna, March 4: Even Narendra Modi’s presence could not fix the fissures within the state BJP.

A day after the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate shared the stage with Ram Vilas Paswan in Muzaffarpur, senior leader Giriraj Singh’s “Chai Chaupal”, an initiative of India272+, turned futile. Neither did he get the permission from the sub-divisional officer nor did many of the state BJP leaders attend it. “In Nitish raj, one needs permission even to gossip over tea,” said the former minister, adding: “I am not a suspended member of the BJP either.”

Giriraj was accompanied by BJP vice-president C.P. Thakur at a tea-stall near the Kargil roundabout today. The state BJP office said that it was unaware of the “Chai Chaupal” organised by Giriraj. But Giriraj insisted that he had told state party president Mangal Pandey about it.

Giriraj, Thakur, former minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey and others had met Modi on Monday while he was waiting at the airport for the chopper. They apparently complained against the state leadership (read Sushil Kumar Modi). Thakur and Choubey had openly aired their resentment over the alliance with Paswan’s LJP. They also skipped the Muzaffarpur rally with Giriraj saying that he could not go due to personal reasons.

“I have been advocating Narendra Modi as the next Prime Minister even when I was in the ministry. I am happy that even those who then did not agree with me are now working to make him the Prime Minister,” Giriraj told The Telegraph, adding that they (Modi and Giriraj) talked about the organisation and political situation in the state. “The BJP is an organisational party. It is not possible for one person to take it over even though sometimes it looks so,” he said.

The dissidents within the state BJP have repeatedly charged Sushil Modi of making the state unit a pocket organisation.

However, Modi loyalists point out that the dissent shown by these leaders has nothing to do with principles and was more to do with personal gains.

“Giriraj’s second tenure as MLC will end in May. He wants a third term, which is given only on rare occasions by the party. Thakur’s son Vivek’s tenure in the Legislative Council also ends in May and Thakur wants a re-nomination for his son. It is unlikely that the central leadership would agree to get his son re-elected when Thakur himself has just been given a second term in the Rajya Sabha. Choubey wants to fight the Lok Sabha poll from Bhagalpur. It would mean dropping Shahnawaz Hussain. That is highly improbable,” said a senior party leader close to Modi.