Jagannath Mishra quits NCP

PATNA, FEB. 26. The former Chief Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) general secretary, Jagannath Mishra, today resigned from the primary membership of the party giving rise to speculation about his joining the Janata Dal (United) and contesting the Jhanjharpur Lok Sabha seat from Bihar.

Dr. Mishra sent in his resignation a day after his talks with the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, and the Railway Minister, Nitish Kumar. He, however, maintained that he still held the NCP president, Sharad Pawar, in high esteem.

He had merged his Bharatiya Jan Congress with the NCP about three years ago.

Dr. Mishra attributed his decision to quit the NCP to the proximity that the Congress had with the ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal in the State. The NCP workers were against any association with the RJD, he said.

In case he joins the JD (U) and is given the ticket to contest from Jhanjharpur, he would be pitted against the RJD's Devendra Prasad Yadav, who represented the constituency in the dissolved Lok Sabha

There were, however, mixed feelings within the State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, an ally of the JD(U). The Leader of the Opposition, S.K. Modi, opposed the entry of Dr. Mishra into the National Democratic Alliance saying that he figured in six cases in the fodder scam. The State unit chief, Gopal Narain Singh, on the other hand, said that he had written to the party leadership about his consent to give the ticket to Dr. Mishra to contest from Jhanjharpur.