Anna aide withdraws from fray as NCP nominee

Mumbai: The sarpanch of Anna Hazare's native village Ralegan Siddhi, Jaisingh Mapari, who was to contest the Zilla Parishad election on a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ticket, today withdrew his candidature.

"Anna is unwell and at this stage his health and not election is the priority. That is why I withdrew my nomination," Mapari told PTI over phone.

The elections for Zilla Parishad are scheduled for February 7.

"The villagers were feeling disappointed with the fact that there was a poll campaign underway when Anna was not keeping good health," Mapari, who had filed nomination papers on January 21, said adding "One can fight elections anytime, but Anna's health is more important,".

A source close to Hazare, however, said the likelihood of Mapari being 'deserted' by the local NCP leadership also contributed to his withdrawing from the fray.

Incidentally, Hazare had last week attended the wedding of Mapari's daughter.

News of NCP offering ticket to Mapari for ZP elections had raised eyebrows as Hazare, time and again spoken against NCP president Sharad Pawar for "shielding corrupt ministers". He had also opposed Pawar's inclusion in the panel of civil society members and government representatives to prepare a draft of the Lokpal bill after his fast in April last year. His remarks after an attack on Pawar in Delhi had created a controversy as well.

Mapari had aspired to contest the election from the Wade-Ghavan group (the ZP constituency under open category) which falls in Parner taluka of Ahmednagar district.

"During my meeting with Anna, I took his blessings. Though I aspired to contest the election on an NCP ticket, I will always follow Anna's principles of social service," he had said earlier this month.

Mapari had also said that he would remain active in Hazare's anti-corruption fight and his plans to contest the election would not hamper his fight against corruption. PTI VT Section 144 imposed at Rajdhanwar in Giridih

Giridih (Jharkhand), Jan 30 (PTI) Prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC were today imposed at Rajdhanwar in Giridih district after two groups clashed during immersion of Saraswati idol, the police said here.

Prohibitory orders under section144 imposed in Rajdhanwar where two groups clashed last night. The situation is under control, Superintendent of Police A V Homker said. He said there was no report of any injury during the clash.

Several shops remained closed following the incident.