Stung by the sharp criticism from within over tacit support to Independent candidate Anshuman Mishra in the Rajya Sabha elections in Jharkhand,the BJP today directed its legislators not to vote for him and announced that all its 18 MLAs would abstain from voting.
Meanwhile,PTI quoted Mishra as saying that he would withdraw his nomination papers tomorrow. Abiding by the appeal by Nitin Gadkari,I will withdraw my nomination tomorrow, he said.
The BJPs decision,taken at a high-level meeting attended by Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj,her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley,senior leader Yashwant Sinha,general secretaries Ananth Kumar and Ravi Shankar Prasad,comes as a snub to Gadkari,who was believed to be behind the assurance of BJP support to Mishra.
BJP categorically states that no member of the BJP Legislative Assembly shall vote for Independent candidate Anshuman Mishra, Ananth Kumar said after the meeting. In view of largescale horse-trading and malpractices going on in the Rajya Sabha elections in Jharkhand,BJP has further decided that its members in the Jharkhand Assembly will abstain from voting in the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled to be held on March 30, Kumar added.
Mishras candidature was supported by six BJP MLAs as proposers when he filed his nomination from Jharkhand. The BJP did not put up any candidate in the state for the Rajya Sabha polls.
The move,however,prompted sharp reaction from several leaders at the BJP parliamentary meeting,particularly senior leader Yashwant Sinha,who charged that the seat was being auctioned and dedicated party workers were being denied a seat to accomodate outsiders.
BJP leaders today sought to defend Gadkari,however,saying that he not only backed the decision to deny any BJP support to Mishra but himself suggested such a course of action on Monday evening itself.
Meanwhile,BJPs ally,the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha,has asked the party to reconsider its decision to abstain from voting. The JMM wants the BJP to support its candidate,Sanjiv Kumar. Abstaining from the poll process is not in the interest of democracy. We appeal to the BJP leadership to rethink its decision, said Deputy Chief Minister Hemant Soren.