After finding himself passed over as a BJP’s choice of candidate for the February 27 Assembly election, Michael Kharsyntiew announced today that he will run as an independent candidate in North Shillong.
It was reported yesterday that the BJP in New Delhi declined to consider Kharsyntiew and instead went with former senior police officer Mariahom Kharkrang before the former had made “baseless allegations” against senior party leaders over a cash-for-ticket scam several years ago.
However, backing Kharsyntiew today was another party member Bhagwati Prasad Goenka, who was formerly the chairman of the BJP’s state discipline committee.
Asked to investigate by the BJP headquarters, Goenka found that Kharsyntiew’s allegations were true and implicated then state party leader Shibun Lyngdoh, among others.
It was senior national party figure Nalin Kohli who determined that the report into the allegations should not be made public, Goenka said.
Kharsyntiew, for his part, blamed certain, unnamed party personalities for tarnishing his name. While the BJP is responsible for a corruption-free government at the Centre, he said, certain members do not want it to grow in Meghalaya.
“Now that they are saying that they have denied me a ticket based on this issue, I feel betrayed and I wanted the truth to be known. I respect the BJP but it seems that certain members do not want the party to grow further,” he said. “So let this be our kind of awakening for the people of Meghalaya and the people of North Shillong that an honest party worker has been denied a ticket on baseless allegations.”
He further said that if he wins the election as an independent candidate, he is willing to associate with any outfit his supporters choose.
If he does end up running (he has until February 7 to file his nomination papers), Kharsyntiew will be the third candidate with a recent BJP past. Apart from the party’s stated choice of Kharkrang, there is also the Congress Party’s JA Lyngdoh, who only quit the BJP late last year.
“I’m sure the people will give a fitting reply on February 27 to the injustice that has happened to me,” Kharsyntiew added.
Meanwhile, the state BJP took note of the Kharsyntiew-Goenka press conference and said that it is normal for aspirants who were passed over to be disappointed and threaten to leave the party and contest against it, though it declined to mention anyone by name.
The party said that candidates are selected on the basis of their work and on the basis of their acceptability among the people. “On the question of some of the aspiring candidates threatening to leave the party and contesting,” the BJP said “that it was natural for some aspirants who had been denied tickets to feel bad and sometimes even level unfounded allegations against the party.”
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