June 27, 2021 4:30:34 am
In a political see-saw hours ahead of filing of nominations for the zila panchayat chairperson’s post, reserved for a Dalit woman this time in Baghpat, two leaders from the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) crossed over to the BJP. But the RLD member rejoined her party just before filing of the nomination and declared herself as the joint opposition candidate, reportedly after the SP rebel was chosen as the BJP’s candidate.
While SP workers alleged that their party colleague Babli Devi was forced to join the BJP due to threats of being implicated in false cases, the husband of joint opposition candidate Mamta Kishore said he and his wife too were threatened.
“We are now with the RLD and will work for the victory of my wife even if we live or die,” claimed Jay Kishore, husband of the zila panchayat member from ward-13 in Baghpat.
However, a senior RLD leader said Mamta and her husband were hopeful that the BJP will announce her name for the post, replacing the previously-declared Babli Devi but they changed their minds when Babli reached the Baghpat collectorate along with local BJP leaders to file her nomination papers.
The SP and RLD workers staged demonstrations at the Binauli police station after Babli Devi joined the BJP. There was high drama at the Baghpat collectorate during the filing of nominations.
However, Babli Devi said, “I was not threatened by the ruling party leaders and have decided to quit the SP on my own. I am now hopeful of winning the contest.”
The contest took a turn early on Saturday when photos of Mamta Kishore and her husband joining the BJP in Delhi went viral on the social media platforms.
Baghpat district BJP chief Surajpal Gujjar said, “Had Mamta remained with us, we would have won unopposed like we did in nearly 14 districts of the state this evening. I was told in the morning that she and her husband have joined the BJP…I do not know what happened afterwards and she filed her nomination papers.”
In total, 20 newly elected zila panchayat members will vote for the top post. Of these, eight are supported by the RLD, four by BJP, four by Samajwadi Party, 1 by the BSP while three are Independents.
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