In a major setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party which has severely dented its claim to be a disciplined party, its State Executive Committee member Deepaji Rane on Wednesday filed his nomination as an independent candidate for the by-elections in Valpoi.
Deepaji who is known to be a die hard BJP activist took everybody by surprise with this move even though he claimed to have informed the BJP leaders about his decision to file the nomination.
Former Deputy Speaker Narhari Haldankar, whose brother is the BJP’s official nominee for the by-elections sought to play down the issue by stating that Deepaji had filed the nomination in his individual capacity and nobody could stop him from doing that.
BJP State leadership were not available for their comments on this development and those that could be contacted refused to comment on it.
Deepaji Rane on the other hand clarified that he was not contesting against the BJP candidate but was seeking to raise the issues of employment and environment protection through his candidature.
However, political observers opined that Deepaji Rane might have filed his nomination with the consent of the BJP leadership in the State as he shares the same surname as that of the Congress candidate, which would help the BJP indirectly.