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Gujjar agitation: BJP is a house on fire
June 13, 2007 16:46 IST
The internal conflicts in Rajasthan's Bharatiya Janata Party unit has come to the fore once again with action against just two legislators and leniency towards others in the recent Gujjar agitation seeming to suggest bias.
Although most BJP insiders, including state spokesman Kailashnath Bhatt harp on the absence of 'discontentment' in the party ranks, the two suspended legislators Aftar Singh Bhadana (from Bayana, Bharatpur) and Prahlad Gunjal (from Ramganjmandi, Kota) are unhappy about the way they have been made targets in the entire episode.
Gunjal, whose brother-in-law, has been put behind bars in a sudden raid on Tuesday for case dating from 2004, told UNI, "What the state government has done is nothing less than political harassment. I am being pressurised in all possible ways, including targeting my family." He, however, stopped short of criticising his party command.
"I have worked as much for the BJP as any senior leader and can in no way be expelled from it, as my reply to the notice would be explanation enough for the party bosses," he added.
Reiterating his support for the Gujjar community, Gunjal said he would continue to work for his community, including attending the Mahapanchayat at Pushkar on June 24.
Bhadana, the other suspended legislator, is piqued as to why any action has not been taken against the Meena ministers and legislators who rejoiced and celebrated publicly after the Vasundhara Raje and Colonel Kirori Singh Bainsla deal, which envisages a panel with a three-month deadline to look into the Gujjar's demands.
"I am innocent and will explain to the party high command. But the party does not belong to any one person. Being a dedicated worker and representative of the people, I will have supported any community and not just Gujjars if the police had opened fire on them," Bhadana said.
Meanwhile, Bhatt said the action against the two legislators was taken because they indulged in anti-party activities, including showing tacit support when a resolution of defeating Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in Jhalawar was taken by Gujjars at their meeting in Ranpur in Kota last Saturday.
The Gujjars at the meet had also pledged not to let Raje enter her Jhalwar constituency.
"Their (the legislators) actions harmed the party's image," Bhatt said.
He said the party president and senior leaders had taken the role of its legislators during agitation till June 5 'lightly,' in view of the charged sentiments at that time. But the two legislators' action after the peace deal was through, reeks of anti-party activity and thus the strict action, he added.
Although these legislators reaffirm that they are committed BJP workers, their meeting with senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh in Delhi on Tuesday, points towards new equations in state politics.
Gunjal is supposed to have been groomed by former state presidents Lalit Kishore Chaturvedi and Raghubir Singh Kaushal, both parliamentarians.
Chaturvedi, who is back after a pilgrimage, is reviewing the situation, but is supposed to have said that participating in community meetings cannot be considered as 'anti-party.'
Meanwhile, three ministers Rajendra Singh Rathore, Dr Digamber Singh and Bhawani Singh Rajawat, known to be close to Raje, were in Delhi to meet senior BJP leaders.
Although legislators are sure of retaining their party stamp, any disciplinary action against them may spell more trouble for Raje and party in general as there is bound to be an after-effect in Gujjar vote bank in the state.