Infighting erupts in BJP as senior leader quits
Earlier on August 2, Surat City police arrested three persons for circulating an allegedly defamatory letter leveling accusations against CR Patil and some others.
AHMEDABAD: The long-simmering internal squabble within the ruling Gujarat BJP exploded on Saturday with the arrest of three party office-bearers on charges of defaming their own state party chief CR Patil. The arrest brings into sharp focus at least six instances of intra-party mudslinging in the previous month.
The Surat district BJP suspended three office-bearers on Friday after their arrest in the defamation case. In another unrelated development, powerful state party general secretary Pradeep Sinh Vaghela, resigned on Saturday after he came under a cloud in a matter still under wraps.
Addressing reporters at the BJP office in Gandhinagar, party general secretary Rajni Patel said “Pradip Sinh has resigned due to personal reasons, and the party has accepted his resignation.” However, sources said that an anonymous pamphlet levelling allegations against Pradeep Sinh had been in circulation. His resignation comes just a few days after that incident.
Vaghela was appointed the party general secretary on August 10, 2016. The unfolding sequence of events comes at a time when there is rising discontent within a section of the party, particularly in South Gujarat, against party chief Patil.
Earlier on August 2, Surat City police arrested three persons for circulating an allegedly defamatory letter levelling accusations against CR Patil and some others. The three arrested are active party members from Surat. Following their arrest, the Surat district BJP suspended them.
The suspended party men delivered the letter and pen drives containing “supporting” evidence to BJP MLAs, MPs, and party leaders over a month ago, a source said. The Surat cops registered an FIR after party MLA Sandip Desai, who represents the Choriyasi constituency, lodged a complaint.
The controversy started when Ahmedabad-based Jinendra Shah was arrested by the Suart Crime Branch for allegedly attempting to blackmail CR Patil alleging irregularities in the management of party funds.
On all counts, the BJP is under fire from its own party leaders. This is when the party won 156 seats in the 182-member state Assembly.
Discontent in BJP
The events come at a time when there is rising discontent within a section of the state party, particularly in South Gujarat, against party chief Patil. Earlier on August 2, Surat City police arrested three for circulating defamatory letters against Patil.