‘He has given his resignation, the party has accepted it, and I don’t want to say more on the matter.’ Thus responded a peeved Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP’s chief spokesperson, after he was hounded by the media with questions about Sanjay Joshi’s unexpected exit from the party ’s national executive yesterday.
The BJP’s two-day national executive conclave kicked off yesterday at YB Chavan Center with Joshi’s exit, which not only embarrassed party leaders, who were all set to attend the meet, happening in Mumbai after seven years, but also threw up uncomfortable questions regarding his equation with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Prasad, who briefed media persons about party president Nitin Gadkari’s opening remarks at the meet regarding internal unity and discipline in the ranks, was shot with questions whether the BJP would take disciplinary action against its chief ministers who have been less than disciplined. Prasad dodged the questions, saying, “I am not the right person to comment about the issue when the party president has already spoken about it.” He then announced the party’s decision to conduct hold a nationwide bandh on May 31 to protest the steep hike in petrol prices.
Discipline a must
Apart from Prasad, former president of the party Rajnath Singh and party spokesperson Nirmala Sitaraman also addressed the media. Singh who made the proposal of agricultural reforms in the meet said, “As the UPA-led government is not taking any effective steps to strengthen the agricultural sector, we have proposed a poverty-reducing model in the meet which will also tackle the severe drought problems in the country.”
As if answering the question that Prasad chose to keep mum over, Singh said indiscipline should not be tolerated. “Just as subsidy on farming should not be reduced, the subsidy on discipline in the party should also not be reduced,” he said. Sitaraman said that the party discussed about proposing that the word ‘temporary’ in the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution which deals with Jammu and Kashmir be replaced with ‘special’.
BJP’s sudden concern for conversion
Although BJP had not give much heed to the kidnapping and forceful conversion of Hindu woman Rinkal Kumari in Pakistan a month ago, the incident got remarkable coverage at the meeting at YB Chavan Center, where huge banners were displayed to condemn the incident. When the episode had occurred, the party had not done much beyond drawing attention in the Lok Sabha to forced religious proselytization in the neighbour state. Asked why the party suddenly highlighted the issue, insiders said they had been directed by the RSS to do so. Party spokesperson Madhu Chavan said, “It was a matter of concern for the party and we will continue to raise our voice against the plight of Hindus in Pakistan.”