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Denied tickets, Uttarakhand BJP leaders threaten to quit

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Dehradun, Jan 22: Denial of tickets has left powerful contenders in the BJP seething with discontent with several of them either preparing to cross over to other parties or enter the poll arena as independents.

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While a number of those left out are sulking as the party has preferred Congress defectors over dedicated party cadres on many seats in its first list of 59 candidates, a few have come out in the open with their wounded feelings.

The most notable of them are the sitting MLA from Tharali Munni Devi Shah and Dwarahat MLA Mahesh Negi. "The central party leadership must explain why it has denied a ticket to me. I have done considerable development work in my constituency besides taking the achievements of the central and state governments to the people," Shah said.

She said she would not be as hurt if the party had fielded a dedicated party worker from the seat but it preferred someone from Congress background.

"It has broken the morale of party workers," Shah, who won the seat in a bypoll in 2018 following the death of her husband and sitting MLA from the constituency Magan Lal Shah, said.

She said she is under pressure from her supporters and may enter the fray as an independent from the seat from where the BJP has fielded Bhopal Ram Tamta, a Congress defector. Negi, who had been accused of rape in September 2020, said he has been denied a ticket under a conspiracy.

He said his name was at the top in all organisational surveys still he could not make it. Om Gopal Rawat, who was a strong ticket contender for Narendra Nagar seat from where the BJP has once again fielded cabinet minister Subodh Uniyal, is planning to join the Congress.

"BJP does not care for dedicated party workers who toil at the grassroots to strengthen the organisation. It has no principles or values. All it wants is power," Rawat said.

Former MLA Mahavir Rangad too is unhappy with Pritam Singh Panwar fielded by BJP from Dhanaulti. He took the opinion of party workers on Friday and said he will contest as an independent. Contender from Ghansali, Darshan Lal has also decided to enter poll fray as an independent.

Tika Maikhuri, who had long been trying for a ticket from Karnaprayag, has also threatened to enter the poll arena as an independent since the party fielded Anil Nautiyal from the seat. Manoj Shah in Bhimtal has threatened to quit as the party has fielded Ram Singh Kaira, the independent sitting MLA from the seat, who joined the BJP late last year. "I am in the race for a ticket from the seat since 2002.

Denying me a ticket is an injustice. I will contest as an independent," he said. Aware of the mood within the party, the BJP says the discontent is only natural and the bitterness will subside in a couple of days.

"There can be many contenders for a ticket from a seat but it can be given only to one after taking into account all aspects. Everyone should accept the decision of the central leadership,” BJP president Madan Kaushik said.

“BJP is a disciplined party. It is just their initial reaction. I have confidence that they will understand," he said. The party has begun efforts to pacify disaffected leaders with promises of position within the organisation, fearing eclipsing of chances of official BJP nominees if they enter the poll arena.

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