R K Singh, the Bharatiya Janata party MP from Arrah, on Saturday criticised his party unit in Bihar for denying tickets to the rightful candidates in the upcoming state assembly polls.
“Popular sitting MLAs are denied tickets and criminals are being given the tickets. No wonder party workers are enraged in Bihar,” Singh said.
“What is the difference between you (BJP) and Lalu Yadav if you give tickets to criminals?” Singh further asked. He further accused the state unit of not doing justice to people of Bihar by giving the tickets to the criminals.
“If people believe that your government will provide good governance, then you should act in same way. People would for the clean image candidates than that of the criminals,” he added.
He further accused the party of allegedly accepting money over the distribution of the tickets in the upcoming polls.
He said he tried to get in touch with senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, a front runner for chief ministership if the National Democratic Alliance is voted to power, to register protest but he did not take his calls. Singh said he had told the party leadership, including Modi, earlier that people with clean image alone should be given tickets.
“I had told him that clean people should be given party tickets. If you had not given tickets to criminals and given to people with clean image, the chances of winning would have been better,” he said.
Singh said he came to know of money having exchanged hands in distribution of tickets during a visit to his constituency on Friday.
He also named a few candidates whose assembly segments were part of his Arrah Lok Sabha seat, besides some others in Patna and Arwal districts who he alleged had bought tickets and said, “I will not campaign for such candidates even if the party asks me to.”
Singh denied media reports that party chief Amit Shah and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had spoken to him and asked him to keep silent on this.
Sushil Kumar Modi said though he had not seen Singh’s interview, tickets are decided in BJP by its Parliamentary Board after comprehensive discussion.
He sought to downplay the controversy, saying such complaints were often made during elections by aspirants who fail to get tickets and those who are unable to secure them for their people. “There is nothing new about it,” he said.
A Modi aide, who normally handles his phone calls, claimed he had gone through the call data of the past one week but did not find any made by the MP from Arrah.
Modi said while fingers were being pointed at BJP, it was the ruling Janata Dal-United, which had given tickets to more than a dozen people with criminal background like Dhumal Singh, Sunil Pandey, Munna Shukla among others.
JD-U was quick to pounce on Singh's comments to attack Modi. “Modi has aversion to forward caste people within BJP too,” said Sanjay Singh, JD-U spokesman and MLC.