Senior BJP leader Balnatah – quits party: to contest Himachal election

 Shimla: Much to the discomfiture of the ruling party, senior BJP leader Khushi Ram Balnatah resigned from the party, Tuesday and announced plans of contesting against the official candidate from Kasumpti seat.

A first time legislator from Rohru, Balnatah (58) not only quit his four decade old party but asked others also to leave.

“BJP is today a corrupt party, it has betrayed its ideals and lost its public image,” he said.

Having declared joining up Lok Hith Party, an outfit of BJP rebels, Balnatah added that he would be contesting elections from Kasumpti on a ticket of the new party.

Taking the occasion of parting ways with BJP a time to unleash accusations, the leader said that the state under incumbent chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was sponsoring corruption.

“Dalal culture has come up, toxic politician-businessman deals were being struck and public interest has been brushed aside in Himachal for nearly five years now,” he said.

Defending himself for not speaking up earlier, Balnatah said that having raised the matter before party BJP president Nitin Gadkari, the party and state assembly had failed to move anybody about the corruption issues that he had raised.

A veteran of having successively contesting many elections against five time former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, Balnatah was only able to win an election from Rohru in 2009, after Singh quit the seat to contest a parliamentary election from Mandi.

Balnatah, after former speaker Radha Raman Shastri, is the second senior BJP leader to leave the party in Shimla district. He had remained general sectary of BJP on three occasions and was vice-president in 1995.

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