BJP in murky waters in Himachal,Shanta-Dhumal friction rises

Written by: Arvind Sharma
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Himachal Pradesh
Dharamsala, Nov 3: Now the BJP men have raised the ante against their own government in Himachal thereby creating hurdles for CM Dhumal in this month"s two assembly by-elections of Nalagarh and Renuka and for the upcoming Vidhan sabha general elections of the state next year.

The party friction was kicked off from the biggest political District of the state, Kangra, when BJP MP of the area raised the flag against the state government and later when district party chief pointed fingers at the CM"s right hand man and senior minister in a press conference, instances of which are seeing a rise in recent times.

There seem to be no end to the troubles of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal"s government in the state as factionalism has come out in the open with dissidents targeting the government on corruption, rising cement prices and failure to check the manufacture of spurious drugs.

The Groupism is now clearly written on the wall, as Ex-CM and party"s national VP and Dhumals men have sharpened their battalions. Dissidents considered close to senior party leaders Shanta Kumar on Wednesday announced the formation of Himachal Bhrashtachar Mukti Morcha with the objective of fighting corruption and raising other issues concerning the common man. However, it was the timing of the announcement that has raised eyebrows within and outside the party as dates for the Renuka and Nalagarh by-elections were announced on Tuesday.

It seems that all those senior BJP leaders of the state who are feeling neglected by the state government have joined hands to form a non-political organisation under the leadership of Maheshwar Singh who had lost the last Lok Sabha election from Mandi to Union minister Virbhadra Singh. He has now expressed his desire of contesting the assembly election from Kullu seat.

Ever since the secret meeting of dissidents at Mohal, fissures had come to the fore in the state BJP with leaders divided in two factions - one led by chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and the other by former chief minister Shanta Kumar - drawing daggers at each other on different issues.

Maheshwar Singh has been made the convener of the newly formed organisation, former assembly speaker Radha Raman Shastri and former Nahan MLA Shyama Sharma have been appointed co-conveners, while former minister Mohinder Nath Sofat has been appointed as spokesperson of the organisation. Maheshwar Singh has also announced the constitution of a 51-member state executive of the organisation.

Immediately after making the announcement of the new Morcha, Maheshwar Singh indirectly attacked the state government for the rising cement prices despite there being cement plants within the state.

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