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No, I am not quitting BJP: Shanta Kumar
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | April 09, 2003 19:32 IST
Former Union minister for rural development Shanta Kumar on Wednesday made it clear that he does not plan to quit the Bhartiya Janata Party despite being asked to tender his resignation by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Sunday.
On Sunday he submitted his resignation to Vajpayee, who forwarded it to President A P J Abdul Kalam for acceptance.
Kumar has been accused of 'gross indiscipline' and for blaming the government of Prem Kumar Dhumal, former BJP chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, for non-performance and corruption and for the party's crushing defeat in the recently concluded Himachal Pradesh election.
Speaking to rediff.com in New Delhi, Shanta Kumar said he is not going to sulk, but plans to finish his novel on the struggle for the environment.
He, however, refused to say anything related to his resignation from the council of ministers and the circumstances leading to it.
His supporters blame Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for forcing the party top brass to seek the resignation of Shanta Kumar.
"He spoke his mind after the Gujarat riots. All that he had said was that if Shanta Kumar had been the chief minister and if so many people had been killed in the riots then he would have tendered his resignation. This not only annoyed Modi, but also the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which was behind these riots," alleged one of his supporters.
These supporters are convinced that Shanta Kumar had been made a scapegoat to protect the non-performers, which led to the party's debacle in the election.
"Dhumal is the crony of Modi and was installed as the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh while the latter was the in-charge of the state in his capacity as the general secretary of the party. It is the Dhumal-Modi nexus which is responsible for putting pressure on the prime minister Vajpayee to seek Shanta Kumar's resignation from council of ministers," they alleged.
An aide of the minister said that Kumar had survived for 35 days because prime minister Vajpayee was resisting the party pressure.
"Advaniji went to Ahmedabad on April 6 and admitted that the party had done injustice to former minister Haren Pandya by not giving him a party ticket in the Gujarat assembly elections. We do not know what transpired later in Ahmedabad. By evening, the prime minister called Shanta Kumar and asked him to resign," he said.