BJP pulls out of Howrah bypoll

THE BJP on Tuesday announced its decision not to field its candidate for the Howrah by-election scheduled for June 2. The party had earlier announced Prof Ashim Kumar Ghosh as its nominee for the bypoll and he was expected to file the nomination papers today — the last day for filing the nomination is Wednesday.

The BJP, which said that it decided to stay away from the contest after consulting party national president Rajnath Singh, denied that the decision has anything to do with "sending feelers to Trinamool Congress" for a possible alliance in the future.

"There is no such possibility (of tying up with the Trinamool). It (the decision to stay away from bypoll) was made in consultation with our central authority. Our national president Rajnath Singh called me and after discussion, it was decided that we conserve our energy for the forthcoming panchayat polls and not waste it here in the Howrah by-election," said state BJP president Rahul Sinha in Kolkata and added that his party will fight against the Trinamool in the upcoming panchayat elections.

He also said that BJP was contemplating the next Lok Sabha elections to be held in November.

Asked who would BJP supporters vote for in the bypoll, Sinha said, "Let all the political parties file their nominations. We will decide what to do then and will inform our party members and supporters about whom to vote for through the media."

He said the Trinamool will get a "jolt" in the bypoll. "The Trinamool's popularity is withering away. With the Saradha scam exposé, more Trinamool leaders could be arrested in the days ahead. That will get reflected in the polls," he said.

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