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Mission unity: Rajnath reaches Chandigarh today
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
To gear up the party machinery in the region for the Lok Sabha elections, BJP president Rajnath Singh will arrive in Chandigarh on a two-day visit tomorrow.

Rajnath, who is believed to have played a crucial role in declaring Narendra Modi as party’s prime ministerial candidate, will hold separate meetings with members of the party’s core committees in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh.

With the BJP reeling under infighting and groupism, the biggest challenge before Rajnath will be to bring unity among different party factions in these states for boosting its poll prospects.

It is a known fact that the party is a divided house in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. In Himachal, bickering between the two strong groups—one led by Shanta Kumar and the other by Prem Kumar Dhumal—led to the defeat of the BJP government in the last Assembly elections. State BJP leaders are pinning hopes on their boss to address the issue.

In Punjab, apart from infighting, Rajnath has some issues to be sorted out with coalition partner- the Shiromani Akali Dal. BJP MP from Amritsar Navjot Singh Sidhu—who has been claiming that some BJP leaders are working in tandem with the SAD to politically marginalise him—on Saturday briefed Rajnath about the issues to be resolved with the SAD leadership.

Party insiders say Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was upset over the controversy pertaining to Amritsar’s development, an issue raked up by Sidhu. Badal had also spoken to in charge of party affairs in Punjab Shanta Kumar regarding it. Rajnath, who is expected to meet Badal, will be discussing these issues with him in detail.

Infighting plagues the BJP unit in J&K too. With Chandigarh being no exception, the state unit is divided into three factions, with each one following its own political agenda. The party has suffered setbacks in the last three Lok Sabha elections. The major task before Rajnath would be to rejuvenate the leadership in the UT.

Regional rumblings

Himachal Pradesh

Two distinct camps ---one led by Shanta Kumar and the other controlled by PK Dhumal. Both factions work against each other. It led to party’s humiliating defeat in the last Assembly polls


Apart from infighting, Rajnath has issues to be sorted out with its ally, the SAD. BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu has been claiming that some BJP leaders are working in tandem with the SAD to politically marginalise him


While one faction of the party wants a tie-up with Chautala’s INLD, the other is strongly against it 





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