CHANDIGARH/NEW DELHI: Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala seems to be treading on thin ice as party MP from Kurukshetra, Raj Kumar Saini, has demanded that Barala step down after his son, Vikas Barala, was arrested for stalking and attempting to kidnap an IAS officer’s daughter. Saini said that before the blame game to protect the party’s image begins, Subhash Barala must resign.
“Ninety per cent of girls don’t come in front of the camera to narrate their ordeal. This girl took a brave step. It would be wrong if we don’t protect her,” Saini said.Walking the caste tightrope in Haryana politics, the BJP, however, ruled out the resignation of Subhash Barala. Party in-charge for the state Anil Jain has said Barala senior won’t be removed from his post.
With the term of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar having been politically fragile requiring the intervention of the central leadership regularly, the saffron outfit believes that removing Barala may disturb the caste balance in Haryana. Riding the Modi wave, the BJP came to power in the state for the first time in 2014. But with Khattar at the helm, the state witnessed the Jat agitation for reservation on a regular basis, besides voices of dissent from within the party ranks against Khattar.
“Barala is a Jat and the CM is a non-Jat. Thus, the BJP has so far balanced the caste equations in a predominantly Jat state. Also, Barala is a political lightweight who poses no threat to Khattar,” explained a senior BJP leader on why the party would not be rushing to axe its chief in Haryana. He added that the “party cannot punish a father for the deeds of his son”.
A section of the BJP leaders noted that the incident, including alleged attempts to influence police investigation, is giving “too much of bad press” for the party.
“The BJP cannot be seen removing a senior party leader under media pressure. The party may take a close look at the chargesheet. If Barala senior is seen involved in the case in any manner, the BJP will get rid of him at a convenient time,” said a senior party leader.BJP MP from Chandigarh Kirron Kher also denounced attempts of victim-shaming and demanded strong action against the accused.
Meanwhile, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said strict action should be taken against the accused youth for alleged stalking of the girl and no attempt should be made to dilute the charges against them.
He said the girl has clearly stated there was an attempt to abduct her, and hence charges should be registered under the law. On the Chandigarh police’s claim that CCTV footage of the incident was not available, Amarinder said, “So what if the footage is not available. The girl has given her statement and the police must act on it.”
Accused person’s cousin also used to stalk women
Not only Vikas Barala, his first cousin Kuldeep Barala also used to stalk girls. A minor girl of Bidhai Khera village in Fatehabad distirct of Haryana was allegedly abducted by Kuldeep a couple of months ago. On May 8, the Haryana Police registered a case under Sections 363 and 366-A of IPC at Police Station Sadar, Tohana.
The victim was first taken to Dhani Shera where she was kept until midnight, and thereafter she was taken to a house with the help of other accused. The next day, she was rescued by the police from the accused persons.
But under political pressure, the police did not slap kidnapping charges on Kuldeep and others. A case in this regard was filed in the Punjab and Haryana HC and is expected to come up for hearing on Tuesday.
MHA seeks report from Chandigarh administration
The Ministry of Home Affairs had sought a detailed report from the Chandigarh administration on the stalking case. Punjab governor V P Singh Badnore, who is also the administrator of Chandi-garh, has sought a report from the Chandigarh Police.