Corrupt Ministers may be denied ticket

SAHARANPUR, JUNE 16. The issue of ministerial corruption in Uttar Pradesh dominated the deliberations at the State BJP executive meeting here today as members from various sections expressed their outrage at the party's diminishing image because of misdeeds of ``the blacksheep among Ministers''.

If the party wanted to present a clean image, it must show its determination to deal with corruption in an uncompromising spirit, members participating in the deliberations said.

Briefing newspersons on the second and concluding day of the meeting today, the party's State unit president, Mr. Kalraj Mishra, said demands were made to drop such Ministers no matter whether they belonged to the BJP or supporting parties. The party was quite serious about the issue and the process would soon start to identify ``corrupt Ministers''. They may be denied the party ticket during the Assembly elections, Mr. Mishra said.

Another issue that figured prominently at the meeting was infighting in the party. A senior Minister who talked of recurring media reports of infighting said this was badly damaging the BJP. He pleaded with the leadership to deal with indiscipline strictly. As many as 29 BJP MLAs had voted against the party candidates in the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha last year. Yet no action was taken against them.

Mr. Mishra said the meeting discussed the strategy to be adopted for the coming Assembly elections. About 50 out of 250-odd members had expressed their views.

It was decided to implement the programme `Ek raat gaon ki or' (A night at the village) and, on June 24, all important State leaders, including the party chief, the Chief Minister, his senior colleagues and other functionaries would spend a night at a select village. Mr. Mishra would go to a village in Rae Bareli while Mr. Rajnath Singh would have his night stay in Jalaun district. In all, 8,000 villages would be covered by the programme on this single day. June 28, July 2, 4 and 6 would be other dates for party leaders to go to villages and at the end of the programme 50,000 villagers would be covered all over the State.

June 23, birth anniversary of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, would be celebrated as `Ekta Divas' when seminars would be held at district headquarters to focus on national integration.

Some of the election issues to be taken up by the BJP as mentioned by Mr. Mishra are stability, farmers' problems and development.

On the Ram temple issue, he said this was not on the agenda of the NDA as repeatedly clarified. A Ram temple was already there to worship. The question was building a grand temple. And that would require a consensus among various groups. That was the stand of the national leadership and the State party dittoed the stand.

Despite all talk of success, the party, however, seems confused over its real strength in U.P. While on Friday a State party vice-president, Mr. Satyadeo Singh, had talked of post-poll alliances, Mr. Mishra today rejected the idea altogether. The BJP would form a government on its own after the elections, he insisted.