Saffron party defers decision on Sriramulu

Saffron party defers decision on Sriramulu

As senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley took potshots at colleague Sushma Swaraj on re-admitting former Karnataka minister B Sriramulu, the saffron party on Saturday deferred its decision to field him from Bellary Lok Sabha constituency.

The party, which held its election committee meeting here, was expected to announce candidates to Bellary, Hassan and Bidar Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka. The BJP was supposed to officially announce Sriramulu’s candidature on Saturday. 

However, with Sushma Swaraj openly opposed to Sriramulu’s re-entry, the election committee decided to defer the decision on selecting candidates in all three seats in Karnataka till the next meeting scheduled on March 19.

“The meeting did not take up Karnataka seats” said a senior leader, adding that “senior leaders will discuss the issue with Sushma Swaraj again before announcing Sriramulu candidature”.

A close friend of jailed mining baron Janardhana Reddy, Sriramulu’s re-entry into the saffron party and his subsequent candidature has triggered a huge row as Jaitley took a snipe at Sushma saying the “relatively marginal issues” of who is in or who is out are diverting the attention from the core issues of governance.

“Relatively marginal issues such as declaration of candidates, particularly who is in and who is out, cannot be allowed to dominate the political agenda in the BJP. These issues divert the attention from the core issues of governance,” Jaitley wrote on his blog.

 Jaitley’s reaction gained importance as Swaraj again tweeted on Friday night reiterating her displeasure over Sriramulu’s re-induction. “I want to make it absolutely clear that B Sriramulu has been admitted in the party despite my stiff opposition,” Swaraj had tweeted soon after he was admitted into the party. The political debate, Jaitley said, is now centered around two basic issues–first, how will NDA cover the last mile to reach the 272-plus magic figure and secondly, nobody other than the NDA has a remote chance of forming the next government.

In an attempt to contain the damage after differences cropped up among the top brass, the BJP said the party stands united and is working together to make Narendra Modi the prime minister of the country.  “There may be some objections but the party is together and moving forward and working together to hoist the flag in the battle of good governance and make Narendra Modi the prime minister,” said BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) said the episode has exposed BJP’s “hypocrisy”.“It shows the height of hypocrisy in BJP. They will have to explain...these questions are not posed by others but their own leaders. They must answer to Sushma Swaraj,” D Raja of CPI said.

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