Ousted BJP legislators to back new party

Jammu, Feb 16: Even as their future is still undecided, the ousted Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs have decided to back a new political front and field their candidates in upcoming Municipal polls.
If sources are to be believed, the MLAs would support the front that is scheduled to be launched on February 19.
Sources said that under the name of Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Front (JKDF), the new party points towards a virtual vertical split in the State BJP which has expelled seven of its MLAs on charges of cross voting in Legislative Council elections on April 13, 2011, in favour of National Conference (NC) and Congress candidates.
A function will be organised at Brahmin Sabha here to announce the party and its policies, sources close to the MLAs told Greater Kashmir.
Political observes said that though the MLAs cannot formally join a new party as their cases are pending in the High Court and so far Speaker Legislative Assembly Muhammad Akbar Lone has also not taken any decision on their fate, but the creation of the front will emerge as strong opposition against the BJP during the Urban Local Body (ULB) elections.
“It will become a worst nightmare for BJP in the region as there will be total division of party votes”, said a source.
Sources said that these MLAs also want to remain politically relevant as in case of their dismissal from the House, Election Commission of India (ECI) has to conduct by-elections for the vacant seats within six months.
“All these MLAs want to remain politically alive as they enjoy quite a support in their constituencies which had voted for them after the Amarnath land agitation in 2008,” said a source.
It is pertinent to mention here that seven MLAs have become centre of intense political battle between the coalition partners, as it involves a straight clash of interests between the two. While the NC is banking on their support in LA, Congress is eyeing on the seats if Speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone decides on their dismissal.
“It is a calculated move. Though the JKDF was founded by son of MLA Chaman Lal Gupta after he was shown door by the BJP, but now the ousted MLAs have also decided to formally launch the front,” said a source.
When contacted, Anu Gupta, who is convener of the front said, “Our policy is to fight against the discrimination with Jammu region and we will field our candidates in the Municipal polls.”
He claimed that all the former BJP leaders who are still MLAs have extended their support to the party. “They cannot formally join us because their case is sub judice, but they will be present on February 19,” Gupta said.
Six MLAs were disqualifies by BJP in October 18 last year, while the party sought disqualification of BJP Legislative Party member Chaman Lal Gupta from the House for cross voting in Legislative Council election in favour of NC and Congress.
Five seats were won by NC-Congress coalition, one by PDP in that election.
BJP candidate Ranjit Singh had polled only four votes despite the fact that the party had 11 MLAs.
The disqualified MLAs include Bharat Bhushan (Domana Reserve Assembly segment), Gharu Ram Bhagat (RS Pura Reserve), Durga Dass (Hiranagar Reserve), Baldev Raj Sharma (Reasi), Jagdish Sapolia (Basohli), Master Lal Chand (Bani) and Prof. Chaman Lal Gupta (Jammu West).
The BJP had won 11 seats in November-December 2008 Assembly elections as against just one in previous House riding on the wave of Amarnath land agitation.
Party now has four MLAs Jugal Kishore Sharma (Nagrota) Ashok Khajuria (Jammu East), Sham Choudhary (Suchetgarh) and Choudhary Sukhnandan (Marh).

Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Feb 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Feb 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 Feb 2012 00:00:00 IST

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