Vyapam scam: BJP veteran Shanta Kumar demands Lokpal within party
BJP leader and former Himachal Pradesh CM Shanta Kumar has dropped a letter bomb demanding a 'Lokpal' in the party to tackle the cases of corruption like Vyapam which has "made all of us bow our heads in shame"
New Delhi: In the first sign of discontent in the BJP, senior leader and former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Shanta Kumar has dropped a letter bomb demanding a 'Lokpal' in the party to tackle the cases of corruption like Vyapam which has "made all of us bow our heads in shame".
The BJP veteran from Himachal Pradesh in his letter to party President Amit Shah also referred to allegations in "some states", hinting to the controversy in Rajasthan surrounding CM Vasundhara Raje over Lalit Modi and Maharashtra where there are allegations of corruption against BJP Minister Pankaja Munde.
The 80-year-old former state Chief Minister has pressed for setting up an "ethics committee" which should act like a Lokpal to "keep a check on leaders in the government".
"I have written the letter and I stand by every word of it. Our party has made glorious achievements. It won with glory, formed government and ran it for a year with glory. After that stains have started to appear in places. With achievement, your head is held high. Stains cause pain in the heart," he said today.
Kumar said he has expressed his view and pain to the party President.
His two-page letter, written in Hindi and dated July 10, was posted on the Kangra MP's Facebook and Twitter accounts yesterday.
Kumar's letter stated that when the Jan Sangh was formed, the emphasis was on "value-based politics".
"Gradually, we came to power, and became a ruling party...people started making compromises with those values, and here began the politics of power," he said in his letter. However, Kumar praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Gujarat model of governance, which he said was an important factor for the overwhelming support the party received during the Lok Sabha polls.
"This was a historic victory under Narendra Modi because of his image and work in Gujarat," he wrote.
BJP today distanced itself from Kumar's remarks. Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters that what Kumar has said or written, the party completely disassociated itself with it.
"We generally consider Shanta Kumar a very mature leader. But it seems that he has been carried away by the propoganda of the Congress party. Whatever he has said or written, we completely disassociate with Mr Shanta Kumar's version," Rudy said.
In his letter, Kumar said proper action could not be taken in time due to lack of an appropriate mechanism within the party and it is today paying the price across the country.
"All the accusations levelled at us in some states would not have started suddenly. It would have begun earlier... Some people would have discussed it but due to the absence of any proper mechanism, timely action could not be taken. The party is paying price for it across the country today for this," he said.
Kumar is among the veteran party leaders who held powerful positions during the previous NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee but have been marginalised in the current dispensation under Narendra Modi and Shah.
In his letter, he also told Shah that history will never forgive the party if it did not live up to people's expectations as BJP was their last hope.