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Bihar: JD-U hit by revolt over denial of tickets

March 22, 2009 23:01 IST
Bihar's ruling Janata Dal-United faced a revolt by senior leaders on Sunday over denial of tickets for the Lok Sabha elections from the state with two party ministers resigning and a defiant former Union minister Digvijay Singh deciding to contest against the official nominee.

In a poll-eve blow to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's party, Bihar Minister for Agriculture Nagmani quit after being denied a ticket from Ujiarpur and said he "felt betrayed."

Nitish Mishra, a minister for Disaster Management and son of former Bihar chief minister Dr Jagannath Mishra, also resigned.

He cited departmental problems but was an aspirant for a JD-U ticket from Jhanjharpur which he did not get. Senior leaders -- former party president George Fernandes and former Union minister Digvijay Singh -- did not figure in the the list of 25 JD-U nominees released on Sunday.

15 seats have been left for the National Democratic Alliance ally Bharatiya Janata Party in the state. Shortly after the list was announced by party president Sharad Yadav, a defiant Singh declared that he would contest from Banka, a seat he has held in the past.

"I will contest the polls. This I have decided... Whether other parties want to support me is up to them," Singh said when asked whether he would be an independent candidate there against JD-U official nominee Damodar Rawat.

An angry Singh also said a situation had been created where he was being forced to leave the party.

Fernandes, who was denied ticket from Muzzafarpur on grounds of poor health, has already said he would contest from that seat as he does not want to be a member of the Rajya Sabha, an offer made by Yadav.

Dismissing reasons cited by Yadav for denying ticket, Digvijay Singh said everyone knew he was keen on contesting from Banka, a seat which he lost last time.

During his press conference, Yadav had said Singh was not being given ticket as his constituency profile has changed after delimitation.

Moreover, he is a Rajya Sabha member. Singh countered that though the profile of Banka constituency has changed, it hardly mattered to him as he never banked only on his Rajput caste voters, whose main pockets have shifted after the constituency was redrawn.

"I never had this misconception that people of my caste were there in Banka to see me through," he said, adding that he never dabbled in caste-based politics.

Yadav himself will contest from Madhepura from where he had lost the polls in 2004. Three JD-U MPs of the outgoing Lok Sabha, Prabhunath Singh (Maharajganj), Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan, and Meena Singh (Arrah), have been given tickets.

In Patna, Nagmani said he felt "extremely hurt and betrayed" as he was not fielded by the party from Ujiarpur.

"It is an approach which will prove disastrous for the party in Bihar," he told PTI. Nitish Kumar said he has received Nagmani's resignation and forwarded the same to the Governor for acceptance, official sources said. The party has allotted the seat to a senior party leader Ashwamedh Devi.

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