After dissidence in Karnataka, a section of BJP MPs and MLAs in Bihar have revolted against their party leader and Deputy Chief Minister S K Modi for his reported statement intending to cover sharecroppers under the Kisan Credit Card Scheme.
“Mr. Modi’s statement advocating kisan credit cards for sharecroppers is irresponsible and will harm the party’s interests,” senior BJP leader and State Minister for Cooperative Giriraj Singh said.
BJP Rajya Sabha member and former Union Minister C P Thakur said the NDA, which is yet to recover from the humiliating defeat in the by-polls to 18 assembly seats in the state in September last, is “now in for yet another crisis“.
“The statement will make the situation explosive and will have impact on the party while the opposition will reap advantage on the issue,” Mr. Thakur said, adding that the party wants Mr. Modi to “clarify his position immediately“.
A section of MLAs and MPs, who met at the residence of former state health minister C M Rai here last evening, resolved to press for resignation of Mr. Modi.
“Mr. Modi’s leadership has become weak and it will be better to replace him with a new face in the larger interest of the party,” senior party MLA Rameshwar Choudharasia said.
The meeting, attended among others by senior party MLAs Amrendra Pratap Singh, Rameshwar Choudhrasia, Bhupendra Narain Singh and Ramayan Manjhi, called for holding an emergency meeting of the state executive of the party to discuss the situation.
Party sources said that a group of legislators and MPs would soon visit New Delhi to apprise the BJP national leadership of the development and demand removal of Mr. Modi as leader of the BJP Legislature Party and also from the post of Deputy Chief minister.
A group of party leaders, including Mr. Rai, are also unhappy over the alleged inordinate delay by BJP to fill up the vacancies in the Nitish Kumar ministry after election of some of their colleagues to the Lok Sabha.
Mr. Modi, however, appeared confident and said he had not talked about issuing Kisan credit cards to sharecroppers.
Asked to comment on the demand of the dissidents, Mr. Modi said, “I am not aware of their move.”
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ruled out bringing in a legislation in keeping with the recommendations of the D Bandopadhyay commission on land reforms for protecting sharecroppers even as the Opposition mounted pressure on him to clarify his stand on the issue.
The CPI(ML) has called a state-wide bandh on November 24 to press for implementation of the recommendations of the commission.