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Trouble brews in Bihar BJP, leaders meet RSS chief

Last updated on: July 22, 2013 19:47 IST

Stung by rebellion within the party, top leaders of Bihar's Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday met Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat in Patna and discussed the political situation in the state.

The BJP state unit has accused Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of orchestrating the revolt.

While one Member of Legislative Assembly has been suspended for six years, nearly a dozen BJP Members of Legislative Assembly reportedly have complained against party leader Sushil Kumar Modi.

S K Modi, party general secretary and in-charge of state affairs Dharmendra Pradhan, Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav, state party president Mangal Pandey and others met Bhagwat over breakfast and discussed the latest developments.

Though the leaders were tightlipped about what transpired at the meeting, senior BJP leader Giriraj Singh told reporters, "Of course, when we sit together there will be some talk on the prevailing political situation."

This was the first visit of the Sarsanghchalak of RSS, which has lent its support to Narendra Modi in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, to Bihar since the ruling Janata Dal - United walked out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

Pandey told reporters that it was a courtesy call.

BJP national vice president C P Thakur, general secretary Radha Mohan Singh and former minister Chandramohan Rai were also present.

The meeting between top BJP leaders and Bhagwat is important considering the widening cracks within the Bihar BJP, with some more party Legislators openly venting their anger on the inner party democracy and accusing S K Modi of 'hijacking' the party.

The revolt was triggered by Amarnath Gami, BJP MLA from Hayaghat in Darbhanga, who was suspended for six years.

Gami has claimed that a dozen BJP MLAs shared his view. This claim has been dismissed by the BJP.

Vijay Kumar Mishra, BJP MLA from Jale in Darbhanga, has supported Gami.

"Injustice has been done to Gami, who has been suspended from the party without a show-cause notice," he said.

Rana Gangeshwar Singh, the party's MLA from Moiuddinnagar in Samastipur, praised Kumar and said if the JD-U gets 20-30 Members of Parliament in the 2014 parliamentary elections, he would definitely become the prime minister.

He also questioned BJP's 'rigidity' about Narendra Modi and suggested that the party leadership change the 'player' so that Nitish Kumar could be brought back to NDA.

"I am openly with Nitish Kumar and can make any sacrifice for him," he said.

The BJP dissidents claimed that many MLAs had boycotted the legislature party meeting on the eve of the confidence vote on June 19, which forced it to stage a walkout before voting.

Thakur, whose reservation against S K Modi is no secret, said some party leaders and workers are unhappy and the leadership should talk to them.

The BJP has decided to take on the JD-U for 'betraying' the people’s mandate which was for the alliance.

The BJP would host protests in the district headquarters against Kumar for 'betraying' the people’s mandate. The protest would begin from the chief minister's native district
Nalanda on July 25, Pandey told journalists.

The JD-U was encouraging 'horse trading' by 'luring' its leaders and those of other opposition parties to save the chair of the chief minister, he claimed, adding many JD-U MLAs are in contact with the BJP and the ruling party would witness large-scale exodus the day Kumar expands his cabinet.

In a counter-claim, Narendra Singh, a senior minister in the Nitish Kumar government, said nearly 42 BJP MLAs and 17 from the Rahstriya Janata Dal are 'standing on the doorstep of the JD-U'.

Bihar JD-U chief Bashist Narayan Singh said many BJP MLAs are feeling 'suffocated' and had approached the ruling party.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar held a marathon meeting of JD-U legislators, state party office bearers and prominent workers from across the state at his official residence to draw up a strategy for 'Mission 2014'.

Later, S K Modi, the former deputy chief minister, made a scathing attack on Kumar for 'triggering trouble' in the BJP and said it could do the same to JD-U.

"It is like a T20 match, the number of wickets they (JD-U) claim from our side (BJP), we will pick double the number of wickets," Modi told reporters while emerging from a function attended by the RSS chief.

Hitting out at the CM, he said the person who claims to have sacrificed everything in the name of principle is actually 'luring' BJP MLAs through of rupees and in the name of 12 vacant seats of the Legislative Council.

"For the 12 vacant seats of nominated members in the Bihar Legislative Council, the CM has in fact lured more than 50 leaders of different parties, with a promise to make them minister afterwards," Modi said.

Modi claimed that more than two dozen JD-U MLAs are in touch with the BJP and the day Kumar expands his cabinet, they would switch over to it.

"Nitish Kumar has not expanded his Cabinet even after 40 days (since the NDA split). If he has the courage, he should do so before the monsoon session of both houses of Bihar legislature, starting from July 26," the senior BJP leader said.

Bihar, he said, has been the 'greatest loser' due to the break-up in the NDA.

He drew parallels between the present situation in Bihar with the one prevailing between 1967 to 1971 in the state, when it witnessed Aaya Ram Gaya Ram (free trading of MLAs) kind of situation due to political instability.

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