As the both BJP and the government is getting ready for what promises to be a stormy monsoon session of Parliament, a letter from senior party MP Shanta Kumar has left the party leadership embarrassed.
The 80 year-old lawmaker from Himachal Pradesh on Monday released copies of a letter he wrote to party chief Amit Shah stating that the Vyapam scam has dented the image of the NDA government and “made all of us bow our heads in shame”. In the letter, he has warned that the party must set up ethics committee to act like a Lokpal to root out corruption.
Kumar also made a reference to Rajasthan and Maharashtra and sought the setting up of an ethics committee to act as a Lokpal to keep a check on leaders in the government. However, the party veteran did not specifically mention the controversies surrounding Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje or Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde.
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“We came to power with a lot of pride and formed the government at the centre. One year of the government was an year of outstanding achievements. But while we were celebrating our achievements… came an eclipse,” Kumar wrote.
“From Rajasthan to Maharashtra, people started pointing fingers at us. Reports about Madhya Pradesh’s Vyapam scam made all of us hang our heads in shame. It is natural for the people to feel disappointed and frustrated. The BJP workers are unable to face it,” the letter stated.
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Copies of the signed two-page letter, written in Hindi and dated July 10, were posted on the Kangra MP’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Making a strong case for setting up an ethics commitee within the party, 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,” the letter stated.
However, the former Himachal CM 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.
He also praised the efforts of Shah in expanding the party, and wrote: “Now, we expect you to make the BJP a strong and effective organisation.”
Shanta Kumar, who was a union minister in the BJP's Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, wrote the letter on July 10, but posted it on Facebook just a day before the crucial monsoon session begins.
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He is the first BJP leader to publicly go against the line of the party, which has stoutly defended its ministers and has, in a series of meetings since Sunday, decided that it will aggressively counter the opposition's attack on them.
The opposition wants the BJP's ministers and chief ministers accused of scams and controversies to be investigated. The Congress has warned that Parliament will see frequent disruptions if they do not resign. The BJP has said there will be no resignations.