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Protest in BJP over denial of ticket

By Our Special Correspondent

MUMBAI, SEPT. 17. Even as the Shiv Sena released its second list of 27 candidates mainly for Mumbai, in its mouthpiece Saamna today, a section of North Indians in the BJP have protested against their leader Abhiram Singh being denied the ticket from the Santa Cruz Assembly segment.

The Sena's second list has 14 new faces, and it has denied the ticket to four sitting MLAs, including the former mayor, Visakha Raut.

The Shiv Sena leader, Bal Thackeray, released the list to the paper late last night. Prominent among the new inclusions is Subhash Desai, Sena spokesperson, from the Goregaon Assembly constituency, in North Mumbai. Mr. Desai said this was to be considered the formal announcement of the party's list and there would be no other announcements.

The Sena is contesting 171 seats in the State while the BJP is contesting 117. Seven seats will be allotted to the Shetkari Sanghatana from the Sena- BJP alliance.

Denial of ticket

The BJP's list of 83 candidates released yesterday has already drawn protests. The party denied the ticket to Mr. Abhiram Singh from the Santa Cruz Assembly constituency which led to a large contingent of supporters of Mr. Singh protesting outside the BJP head office in Nariman Point, demanding that his candidature be restored. Mr. Singh was elected from Santa Cruz in 1995 and in 1999, he lost to Kripa Shankar Singh, another North Indian, now Minister of State for Home.

"Since 20 years Abhiram Singh has worked for the cause of North Indians and he was primarily responsible for bringing in the community into the BJP," said Samsher Singh, a party officer-bearer.

"In Santa Cruz, he mobilised the people to vote for the BJP; earlier it was a Congress stronghold," he added.

The Sena -BJP launched an Uttar Bharatiya Jodo programme after the incidents where several North Indian were beaten up when they arrived in the city for the railway recruitment examinations. But this move to deny Mr. Singh a ticket will go against that initiative, said his supporters.

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