NEW DELHI: The issue of suspension of BJP MP Kirti Azad, following his allegations of financial impropriety against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, flared up with BJP veterans taking cognizance of it.
Following appeal of Azad that he was wrongly suspended and had even requested BJP’s Marg Darshank Mandal to intervene, senior leaders like LK Advani, MM Joshi, Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha met here to discuss the issue. Though, the seniors did not react publicly, but their meeting indicated that they felt Azad issue should have been handled differently. Azad was expected to meet the senior leader to give version of the issue.
Even a day after his suspension, Azad struck a defiant note as he said he would seek time from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ask why he was suspended as he raised issue of corruption, and had not indulged in any anti-party activity. His suspension from the party only appeared to emboldened him, as Azad said he would file a PIL in the court seeking a time bound probe. “More fireworks and expose may follow,” sources close to Azad said.
"BJP and RSS always speak about uprooting corruption. We also talk about walking the path of Mahatma Gandhi. Thus, I wish that Narendra Modiji intervenes in this issue, goes deeper in it, and then tells me about what I have done wrong, as I need specific answers," Azad said.
It was not just the meeting of senior leaders at MM Joshi’s house on Thursday morning to discuss the issue that gave indication that opinion was at variance with current BJP leadership, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy too agreed to help Azad his reply to the suspension notice. Sources said Swamy offered to resolve the issue “amicably” between Azad and Amit Shah-led party leadership.
Both Azad and Swamy are likely to question the suspension on the technicalities suggesting it was wrongly done. Sources said Azad is set to question his suspension on two accounts. In his suspension letter, Azad he was told he indulged in anti-party activities and colluded with Congress and AAP. Darbhanga MP would seek instances where he had colluded with the opposition parties or indulged in anti-party activities.
Azad had earlier maintained that he had not named anyone in his press conference and had only raised the issue of DDCA. He denied colluding with the Congress or AAP, as he has been raising DDCA for the past nine years.
Swamy on the other hand may question the suspensions on the ground that how action can be taken against Azad for raising a cricket related matter, and the party constitution was silent on such matter. As there was no time limit for Azad to reply, he is likely to send his version in a few days.
"Kirti issues are 1 -- is cricket affair within the purview of party discipline. 2 -- due to SC case on BCCI, is party decision amenable in court," Swamy said on twitter.
Azad who was on a personal visit to Ahmedabad was expected to return to Delhi on Thurdsay evening. "I am not saying that it's a crime to speak truth in BJP. But, if party feels that whatever I have done is a crime, then I will do that again and again," Azad said.
The meeting of veterans on Christmas eve in wake of Azad’s suspension suggested that they were not happy with the decision making process in the party. The veterans had earlier on November 10, Diwali eve, came down heaviliy on the current party leadership after loss in Bihar. They had given out a scathing statement on the state of affairs in the party. Now, again their intervention when Amit Shah’s next term as party chief is likely to come up next month indicates that churning to restore balance of power. BJP MP Shatrughan SInha too had warned that any action against Azad was likely to boomerang on the party.
Veterans are likely to raise the issue within the “party fora.”
BJP reacted with usual homilies to veterans meeting. “They are our seniors. It is under them that we have reached here. The party has always welcomed their suggestions. Due to their blessings and their work that the party has reached here," party secretary Shrikant Sharma said.