March 25, 2009 2:20:22 am
Veteran JD(U) leader George Fernandes had to cancel his fitness march from Raj Bhavan to CM House on Tuesday after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar left for New Delhi the very hour that George arrived in Patna.
Fernandes had planned the symbolic 500-yard march to prove his fitness after the JD(U)denied him a ticket from from Muzaffarpur,citing his failing health. The JD(U) patriarch is likely to decide in a couple of days if he wants to contest as an Independent candidate.
JD(U) leader Digvijay Singh,former chief minister Jagannath Mishra and over 500 supporters,with a fleet of over 50 cars,gave Fernandes a rousing welcome at the Patna airport and then headed straight for Muzaffarpur to hold meetings with other supporters.
Speaking in support of the JD(U) patriarch,Digvijay Singh said,Fernandes is the one who raised the JD-U. He does not need to give a fitness test. After all,who in the party has the guts to give him a certificate for his high stature and statesmanship.
Nitish,before leaving for Delhi,said he had no knowledge about Fernandes planning to meet him.
A senior Congress leader said: It is only an irony that George,the most powerful man as NDA convenor only three years ago,could not get time from Nitish. JD(U) alone is rushing to write the political obituary of its grand old man.
Though ignoring Fernandes on health and age grounds,the JD-U has given ticket to 79-year-old Jaynarain Nishad,only five months younger to him.
A Fernandes supporter asked if age was the criterion for candidate selection,how come octogenarian former CM Shyamsundar Das was given a ticket from Hajiopur to take on LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan.
JD(U) national spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari told The Indian Express: The party is pained at what Fernandes is doing. The JD(U) has taken decision in best interest of its senior leaders.
Tiwari said some people with vested interested have been provoking Fernandes to contest. It will be a very sad day if Fernandes charts his own course, said Tiwari,wondering what Jagannath Mishra was doing in Fernandess company. Something is surely cooking up, said the JD-U spokesperson.
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