Noted lawyer and the BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Ram Jethmalani has been expelled from the primary membership of the party for six years on charges of “breach of discipline”.
He will, however, complete rest of his term in the Upper House as an independent MP.
The decision to expel Jethmalani was taken at the BJP’s Parliamentary board meeting chaired by president Rajnath Singh on Monday. The former Union minister, who had publicly criticised the party on several occasions, recently dared it to take action against him.
He was suspended from the party in November 2012 after he asked then party president Nitin Gadkari to resign following allegations of impropriety in his business dealings.
He subsequently criticised the BJP over its stand on CBI chief Ranjit Sinha’s appointment and Delhi Police chief Neeraj Kumar. During Parliament’s Budget session, he had even gatecrashed the party’s Parliamentary meeting. On Tuesday, party general secretary Ananth Kumar wrote to Jethmalani informing him of the decision and listed his violations of party discipline. “You have failed to respond to the charge of making statements embarrassing to the party. You have further failed to show any sufficient cause with regard to the allegations made by you against the Leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha (Sushma Swaraj) and Rajya Sabha (Arun Jaitley). You had made several false allegations against the functionaries of the party. You have raised some irrelevant issues relating to the Police Commissioner of Delhi which do not relate to the party at all. You may note that on 6 May, you defied the whip of the party by not voting for the election of the members of the committee on public Undertakings.”
The expulsion letter further said: “You have again failed to show any sufficient cause for challenging the authority and legitimacy of the party by stating that the party has no guts to take action against you. After considering all your replies, responses and letters, the Parliamentary board was of the unanimous opinion that you have indulged in a breach of discipline.”
“The Parliamentary board, therefore, decided to expel you for a period of six years from the primary membership of the Party,” it said.
The maverick politician, who was elected to Lok Sabha in 1977, was nominated for Rajya Sabha membership in 2010.
Jethmalani had helped the BJP prepare its constitution and even became a minister in the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, against whom he unsuccessfully fought in the 2004 elections, after falling out with the party.