Himachal poll: Shanta questions ambition of BJP minister

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 05, 2012 14:00 hrs

Shimla, Oct 5 (IANS) The rift within the BJP in Himachal Pradesh was apparent Friday with the party's national vice-president Shanta Kumar questioning the ambition of a minister to contest the Nov 4 assembly poll in the state on his own terms.

"One leader directly became a legislator. For the past 20 years he was a legislator and a minister. Now he has gone so impatient to get the ticket that he doesn't want to work for the party without getting any post," Shanta Kumar said here.

"There can't be more devaluation of politics than this. It's like killing the budding leadership (before time) as happens in foeticide," he added.

Without naming Irrigation and Public Health Minister Ravinder Ravi, who is a close confidant of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader appealed to his colleagues to show patience, decency and discipline during the allocation of tickets.

Shanta Kumar preferred to stay away from the party's core group meeting in Shimla over ticket allocation Friday, according to BJP leaders.

They said that despite marathon meetings, the party failed to reach a consensus on ticket allotment on the remaining 23 seats. The party has already cleared candidates for 45 seats.

Ravi's constituency Thural in Kangra district has been scrapped in delimitation and now he is trying to contest from the Jwalamukhi constituency.

Party insiders said Shanta Kumar has been opposing Ravi's plan to contest from Jwalamukhi, the pocket borough of Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ramesh Dhawala, a close aide of the BJP MP.

Dhawala has refused to contest from adjoining Dehra seat to accommodate Ravi.

"Ravi has been given other options apart from Jwalamukhi but he is adamant," said a BJP leader who did not want to be named.

In June, Shanta Kumar had lodged a protest with BJP president Nitin Gadkari against Ravi. He even threatened to quit from all party posts.

Himachal will go to polls on 68 assembly seats Nov 4 and the counting of the votes will be done Dec 20.

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