Sunday, Oct 20, 2002
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By Sujay Mehdudia
That the BJP was totally divided on the issue and had adopted a directionless approach was clear right from the word go. Initially, after raising a hue and cry over the issue, the BJP failed to come out with a blueprint on what kind of Statehood they would like and only talked of amendment to Article 371 of the Constitution. This was followed by the surprising absence of the BJP stalwarts like Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Sahib Singh Verma and Vijay Goel from the team that went for negotiations on the issue with the Sheila Dikshit Government.
While Mr. Khurana had termed their absence as "protocol'' problem, Mr. Malhotra had stated that he did not feel the need to go as he was the one who had prepared the draft. But the draft was never made public for reasons best known to the party. Now a salvo has been fired by the Leader of the Opposition in Delhi Assembly, Jagdish Mukhi, who felt that Ms. Dikshit had turned the tables on BJP by not only adopting their formula but also presenting it as her own. It is a different matter that Mr. Mukhi along with this party president, Madan Lal Khurana, and other BJP leaders did not lodge a protest against the use of word "consensus'' on getting Delhi a special status with regard to financial and security matters.
It is no secret that Mr. Mukhi and Mr. Khurana have no love lost between them. In fact, many of Mr. Khurana's rivals are of the view that he had gone overboard in supporting the Chief Minister on the major issues concerning Statehood and in the process handed over a major political issue to the Congress Government on a platter. In fact, the style of functioning of Mr. Khurana has not found favour with a majority of the Delhi BJP stalwarts who have accused him of behaving in an arbitrary manner and not taking anyone into confidence on major issues. But the manner in which the bickerings within the Delhi BJP have come out in the open has shocked everybody.
The indirect broadside launched by Mr. Mukhi without directly naming Mr.Khurana or any other leader will certainly not help BJP's cause and further widen the wedge in the party. It is learnt that the timing of Mr. Mukhi's reaction, two days after the issue was discussed and highlighted, has certainly not gone unnoticed and it is felt that some kind of thinking and planning had gone into it before coming out in the open. Although, Mr. Mukhi directed his attack against the Chief Minister, but it was clear that he was not happy with the manner in which Congress Government was allowed to get away with credit of working out a viable formula for Statehood.
A situation has arisen where the saffron party finds itself cornered. While it was instrumental in putting pressure on the Congress Government to press for Statehood, it has lost badly on the issue of taking credit and the infighting within the party has not helped its cause.
The whole limelight has been hogged by Ms. Dikshit who has handled the situation with aplomb and has ensured that the initial disadvantage was turned into an advantage for the Congress party. For Mr. Khurana, he would now have to devote more time taking care of dissidents and their activities rather than working out a solution for the problems of Delhiites and issues raised by him.
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