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|November 11, 1998||
Thakre defends tickets for BJP leaders' kith and kin
Bharatiya Janata Party president Shashikant 'Kushabhau' Thakre today defended his party's decision to nominate the relatives of several politicians for the assembly election in Madhya Pradesh, saying "only the able and deserving have been fielded".
"We are not promoting kinship. But it will be injustice to deny the ticket to any deserving person just because he or she is related to any party leader," Thakre told reporters in Bhopal.
Claiming that his party had not selected anyone merely on account of their relationship with any BJP politician, he said these aspects had been taken into account before fielding such candidates.
Replying to a question, he denied that Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Uma Bharati had staged a sit-in to force the party leadership to give the ticket to her brother, Swami Prasad Lodhi, in Badamalera assembly constituency in Chhatrapur district.
Thakre said the people of Madhya Pradesh want a change and "the non-performance" of the Digvijay Singh government and rampant corruption are the main issues.
The people might talk about the BJP-led coalition government at the Centre during the election, but the state-level issues will dominate, he claimed.
Replying to a question, Thakre said the BJP did not leave any seats to its allies in Madhya Pradesh as those parties are in no position to defeat the Congress in any of the constituencies.
Asked about former chief minister Virendra Kumar Sakhlecha's decision to leave the BJP and contest as an independent, he said it would not have any impact on the party's poll prospects. "This is not for the first time that Mr Sakhlecha is leaving the party," he said, refusing to elaborate on the reasons for denying the veteran politician a ticket.
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