BJP gets another jolt in Chhattisgarh

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Raipur, Oct 26 (UNI) Chhattisgarh's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which is confronting considerable discontent over assembly poll ticket distribution, suffered another jolt today with the State Finance Commission's former chairman Veerendra Pandey declaring that he would contest against Minister of State for Public Works Rajesh Munat.

''It is my resolute decision to enter the fray for Raipur (West).

I have informed the party of my decision and urged it to give the ticket to me instead of someone like Mr Munat who has a poor image.

There is no question of any compromise. I have stood by the BJP in every difficulty for four decades,'' Mr Pandey -- who has a separate identity courtesy a clean image and strong personality -- told UNI here.

Sans taking any name, he alleged that a person who supposedly mortgaged his residence and fought the 2003 hustings was now not only rolling in money but also obtained a ticket as he is the favourite of certain persons in the party organisation.

''I have met Chief Minister Raman Singh and key leaders in the organisation and asked them about which shortcoming of mine made me ineligible for a ticket while those accused of corruption succeeded in getting tickets,'' said Mr Pandey who had asked for a ticket either for Jagdalpur or Raipur (West).

The stalwart, who has also been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for about four decades, was elected from Jagdalpur in 1977 and has been raising his voice against Congress bigwig and former chief minister Ajit Jogi.

''I am fighting legal battles due to my struggles in the BJP's interest,'' said Mr Pandey who also chairs a state-level organisation of Brahmins.

UNI AS-AC 1741

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