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City BSP leader grumbles,state chief cracks whip

Ahead of the elections,a section of the city unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party has gone up in arms against the state leadership of the party even before a candidate has been selected for the Pune seat.

Written by SiddharthKelkar | Pune |
February 2, 2009 10:44:48 pm

Ahead of the elections,a section of the city unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has gone up in arms against the state leadership of the party even before a candidate has been selected for the Pune seat.

A pary leader tried to predict whom BSP state president Vilas Garud would select,and was promptly shown the door.

“Garud has harmed the BSP image in the state,” alleges Atul Salve,a local leader. He said,“The party state president is planning to give the Lok Sabha ticket for Pune to a person close to the Congress.”

Rubbishing it,Garud said the person making the allegation had been shown the door by the party. “The person is the brother of a Congress corporator and was ousted for breaking party discipline,” the BSP state chief added.

As the allegations and counter-allegations fly,the BSP has yet to finalise its candidate for the Pune seat.

While the Pune seat has raised a storm,the party does not seem to be encountering any such problem in other Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.

The party is planning to contest all the seats in the state. Former cricketer Vinod Kambli’s name is also doing the rounds,even as there is speculation over Shiv Sena making former Indian Test cricket captain Dilip Vengsarkar a candidate from Mumbai.

The BSP said it was open to making Kambli,as well as actress Shabana Azmi,candidates,if they were willing. BSP sources said the party was thinking of fielding Azmi from a Mumbai constituency. Asked about it,Garud said,“We don’t believe in giving party ticket to film stars,but we think Shabana can be a potential candidate as she is into social service.” He,however,added,“We will consider her name if she approaches the party.”

On Kambli,Garud said,“We are thinking of making him a candidate. We consider Kambli a good candidate for Ratnagiri Lok Sabha seat. He can contest a Mumbai constituency if he wants to,” he said.

On whether Kambli had approached the party,Garud did not comment.

He dismissed any suggestion of a tie-up with other parties for the Lok Sabha elections. “The BSP will contest all seats in Maharashtra on its own. The party has a strong base in the state and will attract more than 20 per cent votes,” he said.

But he did not rule out any post-poll tie-ups. “The Shiv Sena had approached us but we are not interested,” he said and claimed that the Nationalist Congress Party had also approached the BSP.

The BSP has announced nine candidates in the state. The other names will be announced in a phased manner,said Garud.

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