Free-border BJP on the Boil
By Pratul Sharma and Subhash Mishra
Published: 30th Mar 2014 07:45:53 AM
As turncoat politician and former JD (U) leader Sabir Ali, welcomed at the front gates of 11, Ashoka Road—the BJP headquarters—on Friday, got ousted from the back door on Saturday, in a trail of controversy, the top leadership of the party openly bickered among themselves, proving yet again it’s a parivar no more.
No sooner had Ravi Shankar Prasad, the newly appointed BJP media head for 2014 elections, read out the party president Rajnath Singh’s terse message: “Sabir Ali’s membership has been annulled”; senior leader Arun Jaitely campaigning for his election in Amritsar chose to differ. “Whether a person is innocent or guilty should be decided by the judiciary, not the media. But these days there is a huge pressure from social media also, public vigilance has also increased,” said Jaitley, mustering all the legal heft he’s known for to argue the case.
The faultline in the party: in Ali’s entry and in his exit, was out in the open. While his entry brought Dharmendra Pradhan, the Bihar in charge of the party and Rajnath Singh himself, in the line of Mukhtar Abbas’s Naqvi’s fire, his exit showed Jaitley was not in sync with the decision. In fact, there seemed to be no single window decision making process in the BJP any more. The party was on auto-pilot, with senior leaders clueless about the comings and goings in the party.
Not many had heard about Sabir Ali, one of the richest politicians in Bihar, till his entry into BJP in the midst of a bitterly fought Lok Sabha election led to the virtual revolt within the saffron fold.
“Visa on entry” is what the policy of doling out election tickets and prominence to controversial new entrants is sarcastically being described as by senior BJP leaders. Some of whom, like Naqvi on Ali’s entry, have gone public with their opposition. An angry Naqvi tweeted that Ali’s entry was subversion of the saffron party’s basic ideology of fighting forces that are seen to be inimical to the Indian state. What next he asked: entry ticket to Dawood?
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