By Vivek Gupta
In a sign of increasing discord in the BJP, which was created by its defeat in the mayoral elections earlier this month, city party president Sanjay Tandon on Saturday issued show-cause notices to four party councillors, considered close to MP Kirron Kher and other leaders, accusing them of anti-party activity.
He asked them to explain within two weeks why action should not be taken against them for going against the party.
The councillors are Heera Negi, Davesh Moudgil, Saurabh Joshi and Satinder Singh who had last week written a joint letter to the party’s national president Amit Shah, seeking the removal of Tandon and his aide Arun Sood, who is leader of opposition in the municipal corporation, allegedly for causing the party’s defeat in the mayoral elections by engineering cross-voting in favour of the Congress.
Despite having more councillors than the Congress, the BJP had lost the post of mayor and deputy mayor, and had to be content with retaining the position of senior deputy mayor. While Heera Negi was the party candidate for mayor, chosen despite reported reservations of Tandon, Davesh Moudgil was the candidate for deputy mayor.
Many partymen believe Tandon’s move is a desperate attempt to squash the growing challenge to his leadership after the party debacle in the mayoral elections.
The proverbial last straw for Tandon was the boycott of Arun Sood’s speech by the four councillors at the meeting of the general house of the municipal corporation on Friday. They left the meeting, inviting sarcastic comments on the BJP from Congress members.
All four councillors are identified with senior leaders. Saurabh Joshi is the son of former BJP city chief Jai Ram Joshi and is considered close to local MP Kirron Kher. Satinder Singh has close association with the local RSS leadership, Davesh Moudgil is considered close to former MP Satya Pal Jain while Heera Negi is close to former union minister Harmohan Dhawan.
Dhawan described Tandon’s action as most unfortunate. “Tandon should have discussed the matter within the party forum before taking such extreme action,” he said.
Satya Pal Jain said he got to know about the notices through the media and “I will take up this matter within the party”.
Kirron Kher refused to comment, but her close aides told Newsline that she was upset and planning to take up the matter with the senior leadership.
Sources also said that after getting the notices, all four councillors met the party’s organising secretary Ajay Jambwal and requested for action against Tandon, but Jambwal’s response could not be known, nor could he be reached.
Except Satinder Singh, others were silent on the issue. He said, “The letter by Tandon has a reference to news reports that we four made open statements against the party leadership. I can only say that I have always remained pro-party, but those who are anti-party must go.”
Tandon could not be reached and his phone was switched off. Arun Sood declined to comment, saying that it was a party matter.
Party general secretary Chander Shekhar, however, said that the notices were issued after the four of them repeatedly made statements against the party leadership in newspapers. “We asked them to keep some restraint, but they did not stop,” he said.
He added, “It amounts to anti-party activity and city party president Sanjay Tandon sought the approval of the senior leadership before sending them notices.’’