Thursday, November 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

BJP rebels shelve plan to float party

Lucknow, November 6
BJP dissidents in Uttar Pradesh today shelved their plans for forming a separate party following a meeting between rebel leader Ramasish Rai and union minister Uma Bharti who was sent by the party leadership to dissuade them from precipitating the crisis.

Ms Bharti, who was in Ayodhya overnight, met Mr Rai for nearly 45 minutes on her way back to New Delhi after which he told reporters that the rebels’ position had been explained to her to be conveyed to the BJP central leadership.

The rebels, who had threatened to form an outfit and put up a candidate for the coming Rajya Sabha elections, met at an undisclosed venue here and are understood to have deferred plans following the central leadership’s efforts to talk to them.

Mr Rai said Ms Bharti was “sympathetic” to the dissidents’ demands and assured them that their feelings would be conveyed to the party high command.

The rebel leader placed three demands: removal of Lalji Tandon as leader of the BJP legislature party, withdrawal of the party from the Mayawati ministry and end to “atrocities” by the state administration on dissident MLAs and withdrawal of cases against them.

Toning down their belligerence, Mr Rai said the rebels would vote in the Rajya Sabha poll as per the call of their conscience as the BJP announced senior central leaders Rajnath Singh and Mukhtaq Abbas Naqvi as candidates for the elections but did not field a third nominee apparently worried over his prospects following dissidence in the party.

Veteran leader Ganga Bakht Singh, convener of the “Save BJP Committee” and suspended from the party, said they were “fed up with the apathetic attitude” of the state leaders in resolving this crisis and therefore thay are now pleading before the national leaders.

Replying to a question, he did not specify how much time the rebels would give to the central leadership to solve the crisis in the party but said “we cannot wait till eternity. National leaders will have to take a decision on this matter soon.”

Asked what the dissidents would do if their demands were not met by BJP central leaders, Mr Ganga Bakht said they would be forced to form a separate group and continue their stir.

The dissidents at their meeting today passed a resolution urging the BJP central leaders to intervene immediately to arrest the “downslide” of the party’s vote bank. Mr Ganga Bakht Singh blamed state party President Vinay Katiyar and Lalji Tandon for being responsible for the “atrocities” on the legislators. PTI

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