By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 12 Oct: Sources in the BJP today claimed that the party leadership had managed to convince Raipur MLA Umesh Sharma ‘Kau’ to stay in the BJP just as he was preparing to return to the Congress. Sources said that ‘Kau’ was also in Delhi and had even called on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at his Tughlaq Road residence, yesterday. He was also preparing to return to Congress after a gap of five and half years along with Cabinet Minister Yashpal Arya and his MLA son Sanjeev Arya. Kau was taken to Rahul Gandhi’s residence by the Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh and former MLA Ranjeet Rawat. However, even as they waited for their turn to meet Rahul Gandhi, Congress general secretary Harish Rawat entered the scene along with the new PCC Chief Ganesh Godiyal. Sources claimed that Kau was cold shouldered by the Rawat and Godiyal duo and this probably shook him.
In the meanwhile, the BJP leadership, which had by now become cautious and watchful regarding any possible exits from the party, got an inkling of Kau’s presence at Tughlaq Road. He was then contacted by Rajya Sabha MP and BJP’s media in charge Anil Baluni, who picked him up from outside Rahul Gandhi’s residence.
Sources further add that Kau was promised a cabinet berth and assured the party ticket from Raipur, following which he agreed to stay in the BJP. Sources added that Kau’s meeting with Rahul Gandhi did not materialise and this probably led him to renegotiate his terms to stay in the BJP. It, however, remains to be seen, if Kau does stay in the BJP as he has been having confrontations with BJP workers at the local level and had been depending on his own team of workers instead.
On the other hand, the local BJP leaders are also stated to be displeased with him for not giving due weightage to them.
Sources further add that with the exit of Yashpal Arya and his MLA son Sanjeev Arya, the BJP’s top leadership has directed the state leadership to be cautious and more watchful to prevent recurrence of such exits just before the state assembly elections. The state party leadership has renewed its efforts to appease those who are angry for one or the other reason. Particular attention is being paid to those leaders who had joined the party after quitting the Congress. In addition, the sources claim that BJP leaders are also in touch with some more Congress leaders and trying to make them switch over to BJP. Of course, soon after Raj Kumar and Ram Singh Keda joined the BJP, a section of the directly affected BJP leaders have shown their anguish. This has happened in the Congress, too, after Sanjeev Arya joined the Congress. Former Congress MLA Sarita Arya has threatened to quit Congress if she is denied the party ticket from Nainital. Currently, Nainital is represented by Sanjeev Arya.
By Arun Pratap Singh