The Telegraph
Saturday , March 15 , 2014
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Berth rumblings jolt BJP

New Delhi/Patna, March 14: Actor Shatrughan Sinha is being persuaded by the BJP brass to move from Patna Sahib and fight the Lok Sabha elections from North-East Delhi.

Sinha spoke to BJP president Rajnath Singh over phone today. Rajnath reportedly said the BJP required “strong and charismatic” candidates for Delhi to “maximise” the gains from the “Modi wave”. Sinha is understood to have reiterated that his first preference remains his constituency of Patna Sahib and he did not wish to “abandon” Bihar.

Sinha left for his farmhouse and has been incommunicado since. His aides, though, insisted he would fight from Patna Sahib. “There is no question of Sinha Sahab moving anywhere else, his nomination will be announced tomorrow,” an aide said.

BJP sources rejected the possibility of giving Patna Sahib to Ravi Shankar Prasad, saying he had four years left in his Rajya Sabha term. Prasad, the deputy leader of the Upper House, said: “I have stayed aloof from this ticket distribution so I do not wish to say anything”.

The other possible contender is Sushil Kumar Modi, the former deputy chief minister. He has been camping in Delhi for the past two days and is moving around with the central leaders from Bihar, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Shahnawaz Hussain.

BJP sources said there was “considerable heartburn” in the party over the popular perception that the Rudy-Sushil Modi-Hussain trio is making seat recommendations without taking the others on board.

The resentment surfaced today when MLA Giriraj Singh met Rajnath to voice his displeasure on being given a ticket from Nawada and not Begusarai that he wanted. Giriraj reportedly did not get any assurance from Rajnath.

Sources said Hussain, the sitting MP from Bhagalpur, is up against a wall in former health minister Ashwani Choubey, who is allegedly threatening to turn the fight into a “Hindu versus Muslim” contest and “undermine” the BJP’s “single-track” focus on Narendra Modi’s development agenda.

Also upset is MLC Nawal Kishore Yadav, who has been denied Pataliputra.