‘Wife’ troubles dog Jharkhand BJP leaders

Ranchi, April 29 (IANS) Many senior BJP leaders in Jharkhand have faced embarrassment as women claiming to be their ‘wives’ have spoken to the media.

The latest such episode involves Baijnath Ram, who was education minister in the Arjun Munda government till January.

On Saturday, Seema Rai, vice president of the Scheduled Castes Cell of the state, appeared before the media in New Delhi to say her “husband” had deserted her in a mall. The runaway husband, she said, was Ram, who is already married and a father of three.

The embarrassed BJP took prompt action and suspended, Sunday, both Baijnath Ram and Seema Rai.

“Baijnath Ram and Seema Rai have been suspended from the party” Pradeep Sinha, Jharkhand BJP spokesperson, told reporters here Monday.

Ram is not the first BJP leader in the state to face such an allegation.

Satyanand Jha Batul, who was also in the Arjun Munda government till January this year, has faced similar charges.

Soni Devi, a teacher, alleged in 2011 that Batul was her husband and that he had fathered a son by her.

Batul denied the charges, but Soni Devi continued to make the claims before media.

The BJP, however, took no action against Batul. No explanation was sought from Batul, and he did not resign from the party.

The difference in treatment meted out to the two men has raised eyebrows.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one BJP leader told IANS: “The image of the party takes a drubbing with such instances. Both the men are ex-ministers. The party should show guts and adopt similar yardsticks in the cases of both leaders.”

BJP had also suffered major embarrassment when the first chief minister of Jharkhand, Babulal Marandi, made headlines when similar allegations were made against him. But Marandi quit BJP in 2006 to form a separate party.

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