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Infighting comes to the fore in Jharkhand BJP

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The infighting among BJP senior leaders has come to the fore in the selection of the party’s candidates for various constituencies. On Tuesday, while former BJP MLA Saryu Roy made it clear that he wanted to contest from Jamshedpur, former chief minister Arjun Munda backed the candidature of Vidyut Varan Mahto, a JMM MLA representing Behragorha near Jamshedpur who is expected to join BJP. On Tuesday, both leaders were in New Delhi to make their case.

While other state leaders supported Arjun Munda’s candidature from Jamshedpur, he has declined to contest for Lok Sabha. “I prefer to focus on the assembly elections scheduled later this year,” said Mr Munda. Mr Roy is known for filing a number of PILs, including one in Patna High court in 1996 demanding a CBI probe into the fodder scam. Vidyut Varan Mahto, whom party members say has a greater support base in rural areas, had rebelled against the JMM leadership in January when chief minister Hemant Soren announced its support to Rashtriya Janta Dal’s Rajya Sabha nominee Prem Chandra Gupta, instead of JMM MLA’s Sudhir Mahto’s widow Savita Mahto.

“Dynastic politics”

Before this, BJP central leadership’s announcement of Hazaribagh MP Yashwant Sinha’s son Jayant Sinha, 50, who worked with an international investment firm, as the candidate from Hazaribagh, set off complaints and criticism among the party leaders and cadre. A senior leader pointed out that Jayant Sinha’s name had not even been discussed in the state election committee.

“This has not sent a good message. It was known since some months that Yashwant Sinha planned to introduce his son in politics but it was known where he will debut from. The announcement of his candidature from Hazaribagh came as a surprise and has created resentment,” said another senior leader and key decision-makers in Jharkhand’s state unit.

Jayant Sinha, an IIT Delhi and Harvard Business School alumnus, worked in business consulting with McKinsey and was working with investment firm Omidyar Network till December 2013, He has been a member of the BJP working committee since six years. His father Yashwant Sinha had won LS elections from Hazaribagh in 2009, 1999, 1998.

In Dumka too, there were differences among senior leaders Arjun Munda and Godda MP Nishikant Dubey for selection of candidate from Dumka with Mr Munda backing party national secretary Louis Marandi and Mr Dubey supporting Sunil Soren, who was eventually declared the candidate last week.

The BJP has announced that sitting MPs Nishikant Dubey (Godda), Kariya Munda (Khunti), Sudarshan Bhagat(Lohardaga) will retain their candidature from their constituencies. VD Ram, former Director General of Police, will contest from Palamu.

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