Former Jharkhand minister Saryu Roy, who filed nomination papers against Chief Minister Raghubar Das from Jamshedpur (East) seat on Monday, said his closeness with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar could be one of the reason for Bharatiya Janata Party denying him the ticket.
At least three members of the BJP Parliamentary Board, that approved candidates list, told me that release of my book by Nitish Kumar in 2017 was strongly resented and probably this cost me the party nomination, Roy said.
Roy said he was at loss to understand this because Kumar had returned to the National Democratic Alliance fold in July 2017 and formed a coalition ministry in Bihar.
There was no word on Roy's claim from the BJP side.
Asked for his reaction on Roy's allegations that he was denied ticket following his closeness to Bihar chief minister, BJP's General Secretary Dipak Prakash said, "I can't comment on this as it was the decision of Parliamentary Board of the party."
Kumar, who had gone into 2015 Bihar polls with Grand Alliance with Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress had left the grouping in July 2017 on the issue of graft charge against his then deputy Tejashwi Yadav and once again joined hands with BJP to form a
NDA ministry there.
"The book authored by me was apolitical and getting it released by Nitish Kumar is no crime," Roy, who tendered his resignation from the Jharkhand ministry to take on the CM at Jamshedupur (East) assembly seat, said.
"This (release of the book by Kumar) may be one of the reason for the BJP not giving me the ticket," he said.
The book "Samay Ka Lekh", which was released by Kumar in Patna in December 2017, highlighted importance of public finance and disastrous results of mismanagement of it in modern times with Bihar in its backdrop.
Roy claimed JD-U as well Jharkhand Mukti Morcha have pledged him support in the election.
Kumar headed JD-U is fighting Jharkhand polls on its own.
Filing of nomination by Roy against Das has made election on the Jamshedpur (East) seat interesting.
This is for the first time in the Jharkhand's two decades of history when a leader who served under a chief minister is crossing swords with him in the polls.
While Das filed papers as the BJP candidate to win the seat for sixth term since 1995, Roy submitted nomination during the day as an Independent for Jamshedpur (East) seat.
Peeved at being ignored by the BJP in nominating him for this election, Roy had quit from the Raghubar Das cabinet on Sunday night after announcing that he would contest from his sitting Jamshedpur (West) seat as well as Jamshedpur (East).
He had said his supporters will campaign for him from his sitting seat (Jamshedpur West) while he would focus on Das' constituency.
However, Roy decided not to contest from the Jamshedpur (West) as in a late-night development the BJP's Jamshedpur Mahanagar president Dinesh Kumar announced the candidature of Devendra Nath Singh as the party's candidate from there.
Both the constituencies are going for polls on December 7.
Roy held the Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs portfolios for the last five years in the BJP-led NDA government before sending his resignation letter to Governor Droupadi Murmu.
As per the convention, a minister sends his or her letter to the chief minister, who sends it to the governor with a recommendation to accept it.
Earlier, Parliamentary Affairs portfolio had also been with Roy but he asked the cm to divest him from it.
Remaining in the government, Roy had raised some controversial issues.
BJP leaders brushed aside any challenge to Das from Roy or any other contestants.
The chief minister on Monday expressed confidence that he would notch up a historic win from Jamshedpur (East) following his five years of developmental works in the state.
"I have full faith in the people of my constituency and I am very much confident that I will win with more than 1 lakh votes than the last election margin of 70,000," Das said, without mentioning his opponent Saryu Roy, who is contesting as an independent candidate from the same constituency.
Asked for his reaction over Roy's decision to take on the chief minister, BJP's state unit president Laxman Gilua said, "The thumb rule of the party is that any BJP worker contesting against the partys official candidate is expelled for six years automatically."
To a query as to how much impact Roy could make in Jamshedpur (East), Gilua said, "There will be no impact as Chief Minister Raghubar Das will win the seat with a historic margin. He has been winning the seat for the last five terms and Jamshedpur (East & West) are BJP's bastion for the last several years.'