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Venkaiah pleads for Fernandes in vain

Special Correspondent

He is not keeping good health, hence no ticket: JD(U)



George Fernandes

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday pleaded in vain with the Janata Dal (United) on behalf of George Fernandes, who has been denied ticket by his party to contest the Muzaffarpur Lok Sabha seat in Bihar. Mr. Fernandes has since announced that he will enter the fray as independent.

Senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu called on JD(U) president Sharad Yadav to discuss the issue. Mr. Yadav later told The Hindu that Mr. Naidu was politely told that Mr. Fernandes was not given ticket as he was not keeping well and that he was already promised entry into Parliament through the Rajya Sabha.

“He cannot speak. He is not very coherent. His wife Laila Kabir Fernandes herself has said this,” Mr. Yadav said. “The JD(U) means no disrespect to Mr. Fernandes by not giving him ticket.”

As to why the BJP raised this issue, Mr. Yadav said the two parties were allies and “everybody knows the close relationship he [Mr. Fernandes] enjoyed with the BJP as National Democratic Alliance convener.”

Apparently, Mr. Yadav hinted to Mr. Naidu that he should persuade Jaya Jaitly, a close friend of Mr. Fernandes, to tell the veteran that he should not contest given his health condition.

I am fine and fit, claims Fernandes

PTI reports from Muzaffarpur:

Mr. Fernandes fumed at suggestions by his family members, including his wife, that he was not “fit” to contest the polls owing to his ill-health.

“You all see me here fine and fit ... I am really hurt,” he told journalists.

He was replying to a query on the suggestions by his spouse and son against his contesting the elections.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said: “Mr. Fernandes’ wife also said this is not only her but their son’s opinion too. Even his brother settled in Canada said he held the same view.” — PTI

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