BJP panel endorses Jethmalani expulsion

Yashwant, Shatrughan may go unscathed

 Crisis in the BJP was clearly out in the open again on Monday after the party’s parliamentary board sought the expulsion of senior leader Ram Jethmalani on charges of ''indiscipline'' and ''anti-party activities''.

Though the BJP ratified president Nitin Gadkari’s decision of suspending the noted lawyer-cum-Rajya Sabha MP, the party top brass is learnt to have dissuaded later from seeking any action against two other Lok Sabha MPs — Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha —  who openly demanded Gadkari’s resignation.

“The parliamentary board discussed the anti-party actions of Ram Jethmalani. The parliamentary party found appropriate the decision of party president Nitin Gadkari to suspend Jethmalani for his indiscipline and anti-party activities,” senior party leader Ananth Kumar told reporters after the meeting.

A show cause notice has been sent to Jethmalani asking him why he should not be expelled from the party for six years, Kumar added.

The decision is seen as the BJP’s attempt to send out a signal that indiscipline will not be tolerated.

Despite repeated questions on whether the board discussed other instances of indiscipline by others, Kumar merely reproduced the board decision against the vocal and defiant senior Supreme Court lawyer.

Gadkari is also planning to cancel the organisation membership of Ram Jethmalani after the later dared the BJP from taking action against him post his open opposition to party’s policy stand on the CBI director appointment. 

Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely jointly wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on Friday asking him to hold back his decision to appoint next CBI director till the Lokpal bill was passed in the Parliament. Gadkari did not take action against Jethmalani and his son Mahesh Jethmalani when the father-son duo were relentlessly demanding his resignation on the charges of dubious dealings into his sugar cooperative firm - the Purti Group.

Sources said, in his letter to Gadkari, Jethmalani is believed to have questioned the two leaders of oppositions for writing a joint letter on the CBI director issue, drawing inference that it was done out of vested interest.  Motives have been imputed by Jethamalani over his assumption that the two leaders knew one of the contenders who lost out in the race for the CBI director.

Interestingly, the party did not spell out whether it has cancelled the membership of Mahesh Jethmalani who was the first to come out in the public to oppose Gadkari holding on to the office and in protest had quit from the executive member committee. 

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