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Now BJP succumbs to coalition PRESSURE

Last updated on: March 19, 2012 18:24 IST

Now BJP succumbs to coalition PRESSURE

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PTI

Faced with pressures from its allies the Janata Dal-United and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the Bharatiya Janata Party has relented and given up its demand of fielding its full share of candidates for Rajya Sabha from Bihar and Jharkhand, and also denied a ticket to its Deputy Leader in the Upper House S S Ahluwalia for another term.

The BJP wanted to contest three of the vacant seats for Rajya Sabha in Bihar. However, ally the JD(U) insisted on allowing only two seats to the party and has fielded former minister Vashist Narain Singh as its candidate.

As a consequence, the BJP has fielded its general secretaries Ravi Shankar Prasad and Dharmendra Pradhan from Bihar. Ahluwalia has been denied a ticket for another term, party sources said on Monday.

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Though Ahluwalia, a former Congressman, did not have "many friends" in the BJP, he was "useful" in the Rajya Sabha for "effectively" taking on the government due to his experience about parliamentary practices and tactics as well as his "rapport" with the Congress leaders, they said.

The sources said Bihar unit BJP leaders tried to convince Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to give it the third seat but he did not budge. Later, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, who has a good equation with Kumar, also made an effort but to no avail, they said.

The JD-U insisted that since it is a regional party, it should have one more member in the Rajya Sabha.

This is being seen as another instance of the increasing distance between the BJP and the JD-U. The two had earlier failed to reach an understanding on seat-sharing in Uttar Pradesh polls.

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Image: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar


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Similarly, in Jharkhand, the BJP has not put up a candidate as ally the JMM insisted on fielding R K Aggarwal for the lone seat. Though Ahluwalia is from Begusarai in Bihar, he shifted to Jharkhand when the new state was formed and represents it at present.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari was keen on fielding a candidate from Jharkhand though it is not clear if he wanted Ahluwalia from there, the sources said. Ahluwalia was to be given a ticket from Bihar if the JD-U would have agreed to spare the seat, they said.

Gadkari had even invited Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda and Deputy Chief Minister and JMM leader Hemant Soren to Mumbai and held a two-hour discussion with them to end the stalemate. But with the JMM refusing to concede, the BJP had to give up its plans, they said.

Reports of cracks in the BJP-JMM alliance in Jharkhand have been doing the rounds for some months now. This appears to be a fresh instance of the growing rift between the two allies.

In Bihar, both the BJP and the JD-U will have to combine their votes to help Vashist Narain Singh win. With the RJD and the LJP jointly putting up Ashfaq Karim as its candidate, it would become mandatory to hold voting as number of candidates would exceed the total seats.


Image: BJP president Nitin Gadkari


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