Factional feud within Bihar BJP came to the fore during the party's mega event here today as local MP Shatrughan Sinha was not invited and a former minister was not allowed to sit on the dais while all other ex-ministers were there.
While Sinha said he has not received any invitation to the programme, MP Ashwani Choubey, former state minister during the NDA rule, was not allowed to sit on the stage.
"Neither party president Amit Shah nor the BJP state leadership invited me to the function," Sinha, BJP second term Lok Sabha member from Patna Saheb, told PTI.
"My name or photograph does not figure in any of the banners, hoardings and posters despite being a city MP," he said over phone from his Mumbai residence.
He claimed state leaders were trying to keep him away as they would be "dwarfed due to my presence". He, however, did not name any leader.
Asked if BJP would win the Assembly polls without him, the party's star campaigner for long wished them luck.
On the absence of Sinha's name in posters, senior party leader Sushil Kumar Modi said those were put up by individuals and not by the party.
Choubey went to the programme but security personnel did not allow him to go inside protected area in his car as his name did not figure in the list of persons to be seated on the dais.
After a brief argument with securitymen, Choubey left the venue in a huff. He, however, later returned later on and sat with workers in the last row.
Senior Superintendent of Police of Patna Jitendra Rana told PTI that security personnel had no role in deciding about who would sit on dais which is done by the organisers.
Besides Shah and Rajnath Singh, BJP general secretary Ram Lal, BJP Bihar in-charge Bhupendra Yadav, union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Radhamohan Singh, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Dharmendra Pradhan, Giriraj Singh, Ramkripal Yadav, Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and C P Thakur were on the dais.
State leaders like Sushil Kumar Modi, Nand Kishore Yadav, state party president Mangal Pandey and all former BJP ministers in NDA government in the state were also on the stage.
Choubey reportedly does not have good relations with state party leadership.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took a swipe at BJP on this. "How come a party, which cannot take care of its own leaders, take care of the masses," he said.
State BJP president Mangal Pandey later denied that Choubey's name was not on the list of persons to occupy the dais.
"Choubey is a senior leader of BJP and there is no question of him not being invited. His name was marked for sitting in the first row on the dais with national leaders," Pandey told PTI.
"I have heard some unpleasant incident happened (regarding Choubey's entrance) at the gate of venue at Gandhi Maidan. We are inquiring about the incident," he said.