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Trouble in BJP’s Punjab parivaar

As if the recurring problem of "non-cooperation" of its alliance partner was not enough,there is a complete disconnect between the BJP ministers,who have had public squabbles on stage in the presence of the Chief Minister.

Written by Gautam Dheer | Chandigarh |
February 6, 2009 11:51:50 pm

Wrangling among party MLAs,ministers and leaders on rise

As if the recurring problem of “non-cooperation” of its alliance partner was not enough,there is a complete disconnect between the BJP ministers,who have had public squabbles on stage in the presence of the Chief Minister.

Denials apart,its star campaigner and Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu has not been too keen to contest the Parliamentary polls. BJP MLAs don’t seem pleased with certain officer-bearers of the state unit,and even the ministers. The state unit has often fumbled while touching some of the issues,especially with the alliance.

The BJP state leadership has been “unsuccessful” in bridging the gap with the Akali Dal. The spat between Industry Minister Manoranjan Kalia and Transport Minister Master Mohan Lal in Pathankot last week,the latest of the intra-party tiffs,has brought to fore the divide between the two senior cabinet colleagues. Kalia has now complained to the BJP high command,a minister said.

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In the CM’s presence,Kalia hit out at Lal,saying that “the stage he was sitting on was not a Ramlila”. Incidentally,Lal has played the role of Ravana during Ramlilas for long. Kalia was peeved over Lal’s critical statements on development in Pathankot.

Kalia and his supporters occupying the first row on the stage,leaving little space for Lal and his men,also triggered a controversy.

BJP state president Rajinder Bhandari,however,doesn’t seem alarmed. Talking to The Indian Express,he said there could be some perceptional differences between ministers,but these were not glaring. “I will sit with them to clear the misunderstanding. But they have no grudges with the party ministers,” he said.

Several BJP MLAs,ministers and office-bearers also have a problem with Health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla,especially with her style of functioning.

Notwithstanding the applause she’s earned for committed work for her constituents,she has often faced flak from within the party for not “obliging” to the party workers,even for routine work.

The state leadership has had not much to claim credit for in the last two years. On the issue of Sukhbir Badal’s coronation,the state unit got egg on its face,when the Central leadership rubbished its contentions.

At a time when Bhandari,Kalia and other office-bearers were raising hue and cry over junior Badal’s elevation,several BJP MLAs,even some ministers,welcomed his ascent.

At a BJP’s youth rally in Jalandhar a few months ago,empty chairs greeted senior leaders. A BJP minister said,”All five ministers are a divided lot.”

State BJP general secretary Kamal Sharma is at loggerheads with MLA Sukhpal Singh Nannu. BJP MLA Anil Joshi doesn’t see eye to eye with Laxmi Kanta Chawla,said sources. The “resignation drama” by another BJP minister,Tikshan Sud,too has been ridiculed by some of the party MLAs and ministers.

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