NEW DELHI: With the old guard of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) upping the pressure, NRI businessman Anshuman Mishra Wednesday decided to withdraw his nomination for the Rajya Sabha election from Jharkhand.
Mishra, a 37-year-old businessman from London who entered the fray for Rajya Sabha election with support of some BJP MLAs, had to withdraw after a section of the BJP rebelled as it became clear that he was in the arena due to covert backing from party president Nitin Gadkari.
BJP MP representing Jharkhand in the Rajya Sabha, S.S. Ahluwalia's name was dropped to make way for Mishra. "I will withdraw my RS nomination tomorrow (Thursday) morning," Mishra told Headlines Today.
Stung by rebellion, the BJP declared that it will not support Mishra, who is seen as an outsider in the state.BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar announced that party legislators in Jharkhand would not vote for Mishra March 30 because there was "large-scale horse-trading and malpractices" going on in the Rajya Sabha election.
Bitter that vocal party MP S.S. Ahluwalia had not been re-nominated for the Rajya Sabha, BJP leaders rallied against Mishra. "The BJP categorically states that no member of BJP Jharkhand legislative assembly shall vote for Mishra," Anath Kumar told reporters in parliament house.
An angry Mishra retorted that the BJP should do away with "old people" in the leadership. "The time has come that young people should be given responsibilities in the party," he said in Ranchi. "They (old guard) pass controversial statements." The BJP's announcement came after a series of meetings within the party, after the old guard complained that Mishra was in the field due to covert backing from party president Nitin Gadkari.
Party leader Yashwant Sinha, who was the first one to publicly raise his voice against Mishra, met Sushma Swaraj Wednesday afternoon. "In view of largescale malpractices and horse-trading going on in the Rajya Sabha election in Jharkhand, the party has decided that its members in Jharkhand will abstain from voting in Rajya Sabha election, which is scheduled March 30," Ananth Kumar said.
Ahluwalia will retire April 2. On Wednesday, he gave an emotionally charged farewell speech in the house. "When I came to this house, I thought I will convert laws by the power of debate. But when I came here I realised it is not logic but numbers that count," Ahluwalia said, tracing his two-decade-long association with the house.
Several BJP leaders are also unhappy over the nomination of Ajay Sancheti, also a Gadkari confidant, on the seat vacated by Bal Apte in Maharashtra. Six candidates, including three independents and one each from the Congress, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-P and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, have filed nominations for two Rajya Sabha seats from Jharkhand.