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UTTAR PRADESH

BJP MLA says he is a `disciplined’ party soldier

Friday 23 March 2007

Meeting with Mulayam had fuelled rumours of quitting party

Varanasi: A day after he met Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav at Lucknow, fuelling speculation that he may switch loyalty to the ruling party, BJP MLA Ajay Rai on Thursday said he was a "disciplined" soldier of the saffron party and had no intention of quitting it.

Apparently having embarassed the BJP leadership by meeting Yadav and his younger brother Shivpal yesterday, Mr. Rai told reporters at a hurriedly-convened press conference here that he remained a ``disciplined’’ worker of the party and had no plan of "quitting it now or ever".

Mr. Rai, a former minister in the Mayawati government in 2002 and two-term MLA from Kolasala constituency, said he had "no remorse" for meeting the SP leadership just ahead of State elections and that he met them to seek release of funds for a road project in his constituency.

The legislator, said to be very close to BJP President Rajnath Singh, expressed displeasure at the party’s electoral ally Apna Dal deciding to field a candidate against him in Kolasala.

He said the leadership should review the arrangement as the electoral contest would not remain friendly if the alliance partner put up a candidate against him.

Mr. Rai also admitted that the decision by Pankaj, the son of Rajnath, to back down from contesting the Chiraigaon seat could affect the BJP’s prospect in the district and adjoining areas.

He added efforts were underway to minimise the "damage", arising from Pankaj’s reluctance to take the plunge in electoral politics. — PTI

See online : The Hindu

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