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Vajpayee niece quits BJP as Rajnath refuses appointment

Karuna Shukla claims party president kept her waiting for 5 days, shunned her phone calls

R Krishna Das  |  Raipur 

Rajnath Singh
Rajnath Singh

Ahead of crucial assembly poll in Chhattisgarh, senior leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and niece of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Karuna Shukla quit the party after levelling serious allegations.

Even after waiting for five days in New Delhi, she could not get the appointment of Rajnath Singh, the President of the party that her uncle had nurtured and founded. “Rajnath Singh neither talked to her nor received her phone call during the period,” Vajpayee’s niece who had served party in different positions said.

“If I am of no use to the party, what is the point of staying in the BJP,” she told reporters Saturday evening. Ms Shukla said she was continuously ignored in the party. In a two-line resignation letter sent to Singh and BJP Organisation Secretary Ramlal, she said she was quitting the primary membership of the party that may please be accepted.

The development is seen as a biggest revolt in the BJP ahead of the assembly election in Chhattisgarh due next month. Her scathing attack on party leadership had come as a big jolt. “Party is now overshadowed by those in power and three people including chief minister Raman Singh, Saudan Singh and J P Nadda have reduced the party as their personal fiefdom” she alleged.

In the state of BJP, Ms Shukla had been considered as a firebrand leader. Besides being Member of Parliament and legislator, she had held coveted post of BJP Mahila Morcha’s chief. However, a top leader in allegedly projected another woman leader in Chhattisgarh as parallel to her and started cornering Vajpayee’s niece.

“How a party leader could get six posts at a time,” she said without naming the woman leader. Ms Shukla, 63, she had given 32 years of her life to the party. But she was now disappointed. The condition in BJP is now worse than Congress, she added.

Ms Shukla was denied a party ticket in the ensuing assembly election despite being the strong contender. Her interests were ignored during the Lok Sabha election. Above all, she was deprived from important committees in the state unit.

The BJP general secretary and in-charge of party affairs in Chhattisgarh, JP Nadda said he was hopeful to convince Ms Shukla. Many senior leaders also called her over telephone but she denied reconsidering her decision.

The different political parties had offered her to join. “I have not taken a call on the line,” she said, adding that is full of possibilities; let’s see what happens.

First Published: Sun, October 27 2013. 16:58 IST