Tuesday, Sep 09, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
``We read in the newspapers that Digvijay Singh has made these dangerous and useless (bhayankar aur bekaar) charges against the RSS... the BJP would like to know where this training is being given and in what kind of explosives. And has he informed the Centre about it? He should clarify and give proof,'' Mr. Naidu said at a press conference here.
Mr. Naidu charged that Mr. Singh had become ``nervous'' and had no ``credibility''. He had earlier alleged that the BJP would stir up communal trouble ahead of the Assembly elections. One of the allegations levelled by the Congress was that the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, ate beef and it had to withdraw that.
He refused to say whether the party would project a chief ministerial candidate for Chhattisgarh where it has so far preferred a ``collective leadership''. Although a meeting of the party's ``core group'' on Chhattisgarh took place today and the State leaders were here apparently this issue was not discussed.
The party's Leader of the Opposition in the State, Nand Kumar Sai, demanded that the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Ajit Jogi, should resign. Mr. Sai claimed that a Magistrate had pronounced that Mr. Jogi's claim of being a tribal was ``fraudulent''.
The BJP has completed a review of election strategy and poll preparedness in three States Delhi, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Mr. Naidu said that its feedback was it would ``sweep the polls in four States'' the above three and Madhya Pradesh. And in Mizoram, the fifth State going to the polls later this year, the BJP hoped to ``open its account''.
A strong anti-incumbency factor, a positive feel good factor in relation to the Vajpayee Government at the Centre and specific programmes for a targeted group like tribals would work to the BJP's advantage, he claimed. The party supported the demand of tribals that they be given `pattas' (certificates of ownership) for forestland that they were occupying.
The party's central leadership has asked the States going to the polls to set up committees to draft their State manifestos, to select candidates, mobilise resources, organise tours of leaders and prepare publicity material. At least one leader from the central party or a Union Minister would tour a minimum of one district of a State going to the polls.
Candidates for bypolls
Mr. Naidu today released the list of his party's candidates for the byelections in different States. For the Ernakulum Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala, the BJP will support an independent candidate, Vishwanath Menon, who was with the CPI(M) and a Minister in a previous CPI(M)-led Government and for the Sholapur Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra, the party will field Pratap Sinh Mohite Patil, a former Congressman who joined the BJP a few years ago.
Byelections are also scheduled in five Assembly constituencies. For the Karwan seat in Andhra Pradesh, the BJP candidate will be Bali Ram Reddy, a former MLA; in Hungud, Karnataka, the choice is M.S. Patil, chairman of a district cooperative bank and in Laban, Meghalaya, the party candidate will be Jopsimon Phanbuh, widow of Rangad, a former MLA whose death caused the vacancy. The party has left the Birmaharajpur seat in Orissa and the Uttarpara seat in West Bengal to its allies in those States.
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