Monday, June 6, 2011

BJP hopes to cash in on Ramdev issue in by-poll


PATNA: While the by-election to the Purnia town assembly seat, caused by the killing of BJP memberRaj Kishore Kesri allegedly by Rupam Pathak on January 4 this year, would be held on June 29 as announced by the Election Commission, the BJP has got a surcharged, rather heady, atmosphere to participate in the poll, following the police crackdown on Baba Ramdev and his supporters at Ramlila Ground in Delhi on Saturday night. 

Coincidentally, BJP national president Nitin Gadkari cleared the name of Kiran Kesri, widow of slain Kesri, to contest the Purnia by-poll. The senior state BJP leaders were at Lucknow to participate in the party`s three-day National Executive meet, beginning June 3, where the name of Kiran was cleared by Gadkari. 

The killing of Kesri had aroused mixed feelings, bordering on popular anger in support of Pathak, as the circumstances of the killing had sleaze and lewd background to it, and CM Nitish Kumar had handed over the case to the CBI for investigation. Obviously, the state BJP would be trying to cash in on the sympathy factor, doubly sure that the Congress, following the crackdown on Ramdev, would now be on back foot. 

Not surprisingly, senior state BJP leaders, along with a couple of ministers, would accompany Kiran when she files her nomination papers. State BJP vice-president and chief spokesman Sanjay Mayukh said on Sunday that former state president of the BJP and Lok Sabha MP from Purbi Champaran Radha Mohan Singh, ministers Prem Kumar and Sukhda Pandey, as well as the party`s state general secretary Mangal Pandey would accompany her, when she files her nomination papers on Monday. 

On Sunday, senior national BJP leader and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley asked the party`s state units in the country to hold `upwas (fast)` down to the panchayat level in support of Ramdev, and to protest the police crackdown on Ramdev`s supporters. 

The Bihar BJP has already planned to keep alive the heat and embers on the issue. According to Mayukh, state BJP vice-president Lal Babu Prasad has called on the party`s rank and file to stage dharna at all the 38 district headquarters on Monday for 12 hours from 7 am. Moreover, party`s state spokesman Prem Ranjan Patel (MLA) said that the Ramlila ground crackdown reminded one of the emergency days. By that token, the atmosphere at Purnia assembly constituency would remain doubly surcharged in view of the by-poll.

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