New entrants trigger ‘insecurity’ among oldies

Fearing replacement, Bani MLA threatens to contest independently, expose ‘hidden agenda’

The infighting within the BhartiyaJanta Party (BJP) came to the fore on Sunday after the party’s sitting MLA from Bani, Lal Chand threatened to contest the forthcoming assembly elections independently if denied the party ticket.

Party insiders said the joining of stalwarts from other parties in the BJP has triggered a sense of insecurity among the party’s old guards, especially the reinstated MLAs. The party had reinstated six out of seven expelled MLAs ahead of recent parliamentary elections. The MLAs were expelled in 2011 over allegations of cross voting in the Legislative Council elections.
In a fresh development, after protests by loyalists of contenders from different constituencies, the Bani MLA Lal Chand, who is likely to be replaced by Congress rebel
leader and two-time MP  Lal Singh, issued a statement declaring that he would contest the elections independently ‘if dropped by the party’.
Insiders informed that Lal Chand’s reaction came after reports that the party high command was mulling to nominate ChoudharyLal Singh from Bani, presently represented by the former. Lal Chand was among the seven MLAs expelled and later reinstated. The party had not reinstated Prof ChamanLal Gupta who represents Jammu West Constituency.
“The party high command is highly concerned about its mission 44+ for Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls; so the tickets are being distributed among the candidates who have the potential to win.   Lal Singh has good ground in Bani as compared to Lal Chand,” a BJP insider claimed.
Lal Singh—the two-time Congress Member Parliament (MP) from Udhampur-Doda-Kathua parliamentary Constituency—joined BJP in August after he was denied MP ticket by Congress .
In his statement, Lal Chand said the new entrants from Congress were “suffocating the old workers and forcing them to leave the party.”
Lal opposed fielding such candidates by the party and said “if it is not stopped, I would even challenge these by contesting the election independently without thinking about the outcome.”
Crediting himself as “party’s face”, he said: “BJP in Bani is just because of me and therefore BJP should take notice of this very seriously before giving mandate to the candidate who has never held any interaction with public openly in the segment”.
He accused the party leadership of “fixing everything in closed doors by keeping the public unaware of the hidden agenda.”
He said that some outsiders mainly associated with Congress and NC, “who used to be hardcore opponents of BJP once”, have now entered into the Party “through backdoors thus suffocating the hard workers making them to leave the party.”
“These intruders have hidden agenda of casteism and communalism which will ultimately lead to extinction of BJP from Bani,” he said. “” I would also expose their agenda if needed.”
When asked about the statement of Lal Chand, BJP General Secretary Kavinder Gupta, said that the party has conducted a survey to identify the potential candidates and the “tickets will distribute accordingly.”

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