BJP split on mayor aspirants
Dhanbad, May 10: The BJP is divided over candidates for Dhanbad mayoral poll scheduled on May 26.
At least three candidates, with strong party affiliation, have filed their nominations for the mayor's post, triggering fear of a three-way vote split that may, ultimately, undermine the BJP's interest in the coal capital.
Industrialist Pradeep Kumar Sonthalia, senior BJP leader Chandrashekhar Agarwal and party's state executive committee member Rajkumar Agarwal are in the race for the civic boss's seat. Despite senior BJP leaders' attempts, none of them has agreed to withdraw his nominations.
In a last-ditch effort, local BJP MP P.N. Singh convened a meeting from 8.30am at his office today to come to a consensus. The three-hour-long meeting, which was attended by Sonthalia, Chandrashekhar and Rajkumar, among others, ended inconclusively.
Insiders claimed MP Singh had covertly expressed his support for Sonthalia while Dhanbad MLA Raj Sinha and Sindri legislator Phulchand Mandal accompanied him to the additional collector's office during filing of his nomination on May 6.
Sonthalia is one of the biggest industrialists of the coal capital and owned Sriram Ozone Group. With the Dhanbad's first family, influential Singh Mansion, throwing its weight behind Sonthalia, the industrialist-turned-politician may sail through.
"The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and I came out of his (P.N. Singh) house after taking his blessings," Sonthalia said, refusing to elaborate further.
Chandrashekhar, who is considered a close aide of chief minister Raghubar Das Chandrashekhar, a BTech degree holder and a builder, has been associated with the district BJP for long.Meanwhile, a meeting of different trader union leaders of Indian National Trade Union Congress including, Mannan Mullick AK Jha, OP Lal was held at Gandhi Seva Sadan today during which they decided to support the candidature of state general secretary of INTUC Santosh Mahto for the Mayoral post.