His niece, Mrs Karuna Shukla, all set to quit the party
Raipur, 25 October
With the former Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, no longer mattering much in the affairs of the BJP, his niece, Mrs Karuna Shukla, is all set to quit the saffron outfit after being gradually cornered, denied party posts and even a ticket to contest elections from poll-bound Chhattisgarh.
Amidst rising tempers for the crucial electoral battle in Maoist-hit Chhattisgarh, several senior leaders like Mrs Shukla are finding themselves caught in a dilemma over how to tackle with the new breed of the saffron leadership, which seems determined to undermine the role of veterans and cut them to size.
The distribution of party tickets for 67 Assembly constituencies has further frayed the tempers among several sulking seniors who worked for decades to galvanise the support for the RSS and its political wing, the BJP.
“Since I am no longer required and they have decided that I am of no use in my own party, I am quitting the BJP by Monday,” the 63-year-old leader said while asserting her displeasure and the soaring tension between her and the party leadership, including Chief Minitser Dr Raman Singh, who was instrumental in sidelining her.
She was hopeful of an Assembly ticket from Brahmin dominated Beltara Assembly constituency in Bilaspur district. However, to keep her out, Mr Raman threw his hat behind octogenarian, Mr Badrdhar Deewan, for the party ticket. Accusing a handful leaders for the mess in BJP in Chhattisgarh she said that the party was dancing to the tunes of two or three leaders and there was no organisation left in the state.
Former National Vice President Of BJP, Mrs Shukla, was elected in the 14th Lok Sabha from Janjgir Parliamentary constituency after a successful stint in the state Assembly of undivided Madhya Pradesh. She along with scores of other senior leaders were at the receiving end of the new leadership emerging under the patronage of Dr Raman Singh and the co-national general secretary, Mr Saudan Singh.
Former president of undivided Madhya Pradesh BJP, Mr Nand Kumar Sai, is also feeling increasingly marginalised with the party denying him an Assembly ticket from Jashpur district. Disillusionment among the BJP rank and file is out in the open and a very senior and ideologically committed leader like Mr Sai had to contend angrily that the party was facing a difficult phase. A simmering tension is brewing in the saffron camp with the ministers, MLAs and several senior party functionaries closing ranks with the touts and others with vested interests. Veteran ideologue, Mr Virendra Pandey, had long ago parted his ways with the party with the increasing influence of controversial figures like the industry minister, Mr Rajesh Munat, and others in the party and government. Another tribal veteran,Mr Nanki Ram Kanwar, is continuously subjected to insult and isolation by the powerful bureaucrats, cops and party leaders allegedly.