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'Sick' Fernandes says 'I am fit to contest'

Source: PTI
March 25, 2009 22:27 IST
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The case of George Fernandes being denied a Lok Sabha ticket by the ruling Janata Dal-United in Bihar on health grounds got more interesting with the septuagenerian leader himself declaring on Wednesday he was not "sick" as made out by the party and that he was "fit and fine."

Both Fernandes and the JD-U leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also accused each other of being "misled and misguided" on the health condition of the firebrand socialist to withstand the election rigours.

Fernandes was also visibly upset when confronted with suggestions by his family members including wife Leila Kabir Fernandes that her better half was not "fit" for contesting polls owing to his ill-health, which apparently formed the basis for JD(U) leaders to deny a ticket.

"I am sitting fit and fine before you. I am really hurt. I have come here to seek peoples' opinion on contesting elections from Muzaffarpur, the seat I represented several times in the past. I will announce my decision after meeting the people in the constituency", Fernandes told a crowded press conference, a day after he arrived in Muzzafarpur on his first visit to Bihar to a rousing welcome by his supporters after being denied a ticket by the JD-U.

Nitish Kumar alleged that Fernandes is being misled by others and defended the JD-U decision. "Whatever George is saying is not his words," Kumar said, adding there are people who are goading him to contest for political and other reasons despite being denied a ticket, Kumar claimed.

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