A senior leader of the Bhartiya Janata Party has described denial of party ticket for Rajya Sabha elections to deputy leader of Rajya Sabha, Surinder Singh Ahluwalia as the party showing its true colours.
"I am in the party, but denial of ticket to Ahluwalia has once again established that no matter how much we pretend, the BJP is indeed a communal party," he said.
Ahluwalia is one of the BJP members who will retire on April 2, and needs to be elected again. According to sources, Jharkhand has nothing to do with denial of ticket.
"There are no differences between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Ahluwalia. All those stories in the newspapers are plain rumours," another leader of the party told rediff.com in an exclusive conversation on the condition of anonymity.
According to party sources, Ahluwalia has been penalised for his proximity to BJP leader L K Advani and leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj; since some of the senior leaders including the party president Nitin Gadkari and a well-known Supreme Court advocate suspected that the Sikh from Bihar was passing on crucial information to Advani and Swaraj.
Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, and former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Shanta Kumar have spoken openly against Gadkari.
The issue was hotly debated in the central hall of Parliament where members cutting across party lines lambasted Gadkari for not re-nominating Ahluwalia. Though he chose not to speak on the matter openly, he is angry and feels humiliated, said a source.
Some of the senior congress leaders admitted that some of the ministers from Dr Manmohan Singh's government were unhappy with Ahluwalia, and they too have played a crucial role in denial of ticket.