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BJP infighting creates ripples in State`
The bloody clash involving the supporters of the two Cabinet Ministers — Satpal Maharaj and Madan Kaushik- that left the Haridwar mayor Manoj Garg seriously injured on Wednesday with several stitches fixed on his head has made the people wonder what has triggered it. With the unsavoury infighting within the ruling party continuing to create ripples in the State’s political circles and the media, the state party brass is keeping a studied silence while the opposition is going all- out to tear into the ruling party and the Government it is leading.
With the tension refusing to die down, the party high command is busy finding out some ways to douse the raging flame. Observers say that the BJP high command’s anguish is justified as it has provided Congress which seemed to be struggling for its survival with fresh ammunition to fire shots at the ruling party. It is learnt that the miffed high command has asked the state unit to explain things.
Initially, both the Cabinet Ministers whose names were dragged into the raging infighting tried to keep a safe distance from the development. But as mudslinging started, they stepped into the scene.
Notably, as vast areas of Haridwar had been waterlogged following heavy rains on Wednesday, the mayor Manoj Garg who happens to be a close confidante of Kaushik, had reached with a band of his supporters the ashram owned by Maharaj. As a part of the boundary wall of the ashram had been demolished the angered ashram inmates had hit the scene, resulting in the clash. Things reaching grim proportions, both the ministers sought to make light of the clash, attributing it to sudden fits of rage. However, the state watchers are convinced that it is nothing short of a struggle for supremacy as both the ministers are known to be inimical to each other.
Observers are of the opinion that the sudden eruption of the rage from those loyal to Maharaj was a fallout of the uneasy equations existing between the chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and their mentor Maharaj. While Maharaj is skipping Cabinet meetings the CM on his part is trying every means to promote Kaushik. The latter being appointed as the State Government’s spokesperson and allotted a room in the secretariat has left nobody in doubt that his stock is presently in the ascendancy in the Governmental affairs of the State. However, this has made many in the party to squirm in discontent.
Maharaj remaining a redoubtable figure thanks to his clout across the country, he had led the party’s campaigning before the 2017 election as the star campaigner. He had been given ticket for a crucial seat with the party brass giving a raw deal to the incumbent MLA Teerath Singh Rawat. It had fuelled speculation of Maharaj being propped up for the chair of the Chief Minister in case BJP had secured the number. However, the mantle having finally fallen on Trivendra Singh Rawat left him sulking. Those close to Maharaj say that he can hardly be expected to play second fiddle to the present CM who is no match for him in terms of stature.
“Things have reached a very interesting stage when Maharaj must come out of his cocoon to make clear what he is up to. Either he would have to fall in line and accept the CM as the head of the state or he must stage another coup- reminiscent of what he did just before the 2014 general election by deserting Congress-by parting ways with the saffron camp along with his followers. The role of the party high command is, however, very crucial as it is not ready to risk the exit of the stalwart who enjoys confidence in the party’s ideological headquarters based in Nagpur,” says an observer.
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