J A L A N D H A R    E D I T I O N

BJP loses grip in stronghold Batala
Ravi Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Batala, September 11
The Batala BJP, once a force to reckon with in the steel city, needs a massive booster dose to resurrect itself ahead of the general elections. Infighting among the top leadership coupled with the fact that the SAD area in-charge and former MLA LS Lodhinangal is up to his favourite task, dividing the BJP with surgical precision, has pushed the saffron party on the back foot.

This development does not augur well for the party ahead of the general elections as Batala was once considered to be a stronghold from where the BJP candidate from the Gurdaspur Parliamentary seat, of which Batala Vidhan Sabha seat is a part, used to derive maximum mileage.

The rot started during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when the sitting Gurdaspur Congress Member Parliament (MP) Partap Singh Bajwa ran up a massive lead of 20,000 votes from the Batala Vidhan Sabha seat.


For the next three years the party failed to stem the rot which was evident from the fact that the Congress candidate Ashwani Sekhri defeated Lodhinangal by nearly 22,000 votes in the assembly elections. Sources disclosed that Lodhinangal was peeved at the modus operandi of the party during the elections as “instead of helping him to win the seat, the BJP played spoilsport. “This is the reason why Lodhinangal is seeking revenge and is sparing no efforts to vertically divide the existing structure of the saffron party,” said a former SAD minister.

The suspension of the Batala city president Kishan Baldev Suri by the State leadership yesterday has come as the proverbial last nail in the coffin for the party. Suri has been punished for allegedly using derogatory words against the Batala district chief Suresh Bhatia when both the leaders indulged in a verbal spat recently. An inquiry was conducted by former Jalandhar Mayor and senior BJP leader Rakesh Rathour following which Suri was found to be guilty. “I conducted a comprehensive inquiry and found that Suri had indulged in an act of indiscipline. I know this will weaken the party ahead of the Parliamentary elections but we have to run the party like a disciplined unit,” averred Rathour. 



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