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Why BJP Should Avoid Creating More ‘Shatru’ in Poll-Bound Bihar

After Shatrughan, two more BJP MPs allege malpractice in ticket distribution ahead of polls, writes Neena Choudhary.

Updated
Opinion
3 min read
The BJP may have added Shatrughan Sinha in the star campaigners’ list, but it’s equally true that the BJP MP from Patna Sahib has been treated shabbily. (Photo courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/shatrugansinha/photos/a.648282125232170.1073741828.648262931900756/648281211898928/?type=3&amp;theater">Facebook</a>)

First, it was Shatrughan Sinha. Then R K Singh. And now Chedi Paswan. All three influential BJP Lok Sabha members from Bihar have virtually raised a banner of revolt against the party leadership for giving them a raw deal during the ongoing assembly elections.

Ironically, none of the three have anything to do with the BJP’s parent organisation, the RSS, but the three outspoken MPs, through frank opinion, have given some ray of hope to all those party leaders who are feeling suffocated within the saffron camp but have not dared to raise their voice so far.

While reams of newsprint went into highlighting why Shatrughan Sinha was annoyed with the party leadership, when a former Union Home Secretary-turned-MP R K Singh makes an allegation of “tickets being sold” and “shady characters being given BJP ticket” then the grave charges cannot simply be brushed under the carpet.

Snapshot

The Discontent Within

  • After Shatrughan Sinha, BJP MPs R K Singh and Chedi paswan allege malpractice in ticket distribution
  • Former Union Home Secretary R K Singh’s charges of tickets being sold quite serious
  • Three-time MP Chedi Paswan miffed at his son being denied a ticket in the upcoming polls
  • Charges of nepotism being practiced in ticket distribution gives fresh ammunition to Nitish Kumar
  • BJP may not be willing to resolve the issue immediately but can’t deny the caste factor associated with these MPs
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Miffed BJP Leaders

Similar is the case with Chedi Paswan who is no rookie in Indian politics. Those who have not heard of him earlier should know that he is the same Dalit leader who defeated Meira Kumar, daughter of late Jagjivan Ram, not once but thrice. That too from Sasaram, her father’s impregnable fortress in western Bihar. Once in 1989, then again in 1991 and recently in 2014 when Meira lost despite serving as Lok Sabha Speaker (from 2009 to 2014).

File Picture of Chedi Paswan (Courtesy: <a href="http://www.chhedipaswan.com/photo_gallery.html">cheedipaswan.com</a>)
File Picture of Chedi Paswan (Courtesy: cheedipaswan.com)

Chedi’s outburst against his party was natural and worth notable when he said: “If the son of Dr C P Thakur (former Union Health Minister in Vajpayee’s cabinet), Vivek Thakur, can be given a ticket (from Brahmpur), if Narendra Singh’s son can be given a ticket in Jamui district, why can’t my son be allotted a seat of his choice? There should be a standard rule in all parties for sons and daughters of politicians. You cannot have different yardsticks for different persons.”

BJP MP from Ara R K Singh’s anger was all the more palpable when he charged that criminal elements were trying to “buy” tickets. Though the BJP’s undeclared chief-ministerial candidate Sushil Kumar Modi has vehemently denied the allegation, the serious charge has given enough ammunition to the Nitish Kumar-led grand alliance to launch a fresh attack against the BJP.

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(Photo: PTI)
(Photo: PTI)

Cutting Shatru to Size

The BJP, meanwhile, may have added Shatrughan in the star campaigner’s list, but it’s equally true that the BJP MP from Patna Sahib, who won with the highest margin in Bihar-Jharkhand in the 2014 parliamentary election, has been treated shabbily. His closest associate Dr Binod Yadav – a physician by profession and a former MLA – has been denied party ticket from Bakhtiyarpur, an assembly constituency within the Patna Sahib Lok Sabha seat. This is being seen as an attempt to cut Shatru to size for speaking against the party leadership.

But having raised his voice, Shatru, true to his style, remained unfazed. “I have been health as well as wealth (shipping minister) minister,” Shatru tells his close aides in a lighter vein and then adds, “Such is my kad (stature) that I don’t need any pad (post). But show some respect towards the first person from Bollywood who became a cabinet minister.”

The BJP may not like to join issue with either of the three discontented MPs, but the fact is that the three castes – Kayasthas, Rajputs and Paswans (which threw their weight behind the NDA in the 2014 general election) – which Shatru, Singh and Chedi represent, respectively – cannot not be annoyed any further.

It is time for the BJP to avoid scoring a self-goal in Modi’s do-or-die battle against Nitish.

(The writer is a Bihar-based journalist)

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