AFTER MP Kirron Kher’s win in the Lok Sabha elections from Chandigarh, factionalism within the local unit of BJP was out in the open at the event where the party’s working president J P Nadda was to address the general public on Monday. Nadda was at the BJP headquarters Kamlam in the city to speak on the abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.
While Kher was conspicuous by her absence, BJP leader and Additional Solicitor General of India Satya Pal Jain too reached the venue at a time when Nadda was speaking. Most of the councillors from Kher’s and Jain’s camps were missing at the event. Even as the three groups in the party tried to put up a united front during the Lok Sabha elections held this year, chinks were quite visible during Monday’s event. All the three — city BJP chief Sanjay Tandon, BJP leader Satya Pal Jain and Kirron Kher — were front-runners for the ticket and it was sitting MP Kher who was asked to contest the polls again.
During Nadda’s main event on Monday — there were several events lined up for the day, including a public meeting — the only prominent local face sitting on the stage was Tandon.
Kher, however, said that she was leaving for the US and that is why she could not be there. “I am taking a flight to the USA and I am at the Delhi airport at the moment,” she said.
Sources close to Tandon said that the event was earlier scheduled for September 29 but had been postponed to September 30 due to a meeting. That is why Kher could not attend. However, Tandon did not respond to a call made by Newsline.
Asked why he wasn’t seen at any of the events except the one in the afternoon, Jain said he was given invitation only for this one.
Speaking to Newsline, Jain said, “I was invited only to this event and told to reach around quarter to four. I directly came from the court.” Jain is also a member of the national executive of the party.
Groupism was witnessed among the party councillors as well. BJP councillor Davesh Moudgil, who is from Jain’s camp, came only at the time Nadda was to be there — as a mark of attendance. He was later nowhere to be seen.
The councillors holding allegiance to Tandon camp — Arun Sood, Gurpreet Dhillon, Chanderwati Shukla along with her husband Pappu Shukla, Shakti Devshali and Maheshinder Sidhu — were the only ones at the event. Nominated councillors Dr Jyotsana Wig and Kamla Sharma were there too.
Mayor Rajesh Kalia initially was seen struggling to get a seat at the venue but later he sat on the stage. A BJP councillor who doesn’t hold allegiance to Tandon said that there was resentment as the public awareness meet should not be held at the party headquarters. “General public won’t come to party headquarters. The event should have been either at the law auditorium or Panjab University. Moreover, there were no prominent persons from the public and just the party workers,” he said.