Chandra Shekhar's elder son accuses SP of breaking family unity

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New Delhi, Sep 12 (UNI) Just a day after announcing that he would contest from his father's traditional constiuency Ballia on the Samajwadi Party ticket, with full family support, former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar's younger son Neeraj Shekahr and his new found party faced a strong rebuttal from the late leader's elder son Pankaj Singh.

Without naming the Samajwadi Party, Mr Singh accused it of ''driving a nail in the family unity''.

He said his younger brother did not consult him before taking the step.

''My attention has been drawn to media reports claiming that my younger brother Neeraj has joined the Samajwadi Party and intends to contest the election from Ballia... The media reports also hint that Neeraj has obtained my consent to do so. The issue has not been discussed with me nor have I given consent to any such effect,'' he said.

''I strongly believed that the family should remain together to uphold heritage of love and affection that has grown between my father and the people of Ballia which is known for its revolutionary tempers from the days of the Freedom struggle.

But it would seem that some people with vested interests have succeeded in driving a nail in the family unity. I will do every thing possible to uphold name, honour and dignity of my father and would strive to continue the work that was interrupted due to his sad demise in July this year. That is my promise to people of Ballia,'' said Mr Singh.

Senior SP leader Janeswar Misra while announcing Mr Neeraj Shekhar's candidature yesterday had said that by fielding him from Ballia, they were only continuing their party's tradition of supporting late Chandar Shekhar in every election irrespective of whether the support was asked for by him or not.

Replying to questions on this occasion, his son Mr Shekhar denied all rumours that there were any differences within his family and that his elder brother was not with him.

''As far as I know, my elder brother was not contensting from any other party and I enjoy his blessings,'' he had said.

The former Prime Minister, who died on July eight, had formed the Samajawadi Janata Party (SJP) after breaking away from Janata Dal following the fall of the VP Singh Government and had represented Ballia in the Lok Sabha since 1971, losing only once in 1984.

The bypoll to the seat had earlier been scheduled for August, but later it was deferred. The Election Commission is yet to announce the new date.

UNI

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