The Punjab BJP Saturday expelled former minister Anil Joshi from the party for six years, a day after he replied to a show-cause notice issued to him over his “anti-party” activities.
In a statement, the state BJP unit said Joshi has been expelled for making statements against the Union government, party’s central leadership and its policies. Joshi has been expelled on the directions of state unit chief Ashwani Sharma, it said.
The state BJP on July 7 had issued a show cause notice asking Joshi to explain his comments against the state party leadership accusing them of having mishandling the ongoing farmers’ protests against the Centre’s agriculture laws.
Joshi did not give up his stubborn attitude of going against the party, the statement said, adding Sharma, on the recommendations of a disciplinary committee, expelled him from the primary membership of the party for six years.
Reacting to his expulsion, Joshi said that he was hoping that state leadership will listen to him. “They have finished off my 37 years of ‘tapasya’ in the party.
Is it wrong to talk about people of Punjab? BJP workers are being thrashed, disrobed. Is it wrong to ask for solution to farmers protests? Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma and his team did not give correct feedback to the Centre. These are the people who are expelling me. The one who was taking about saving the party has been thrown out,” said Joshi who remained Minister for Local Bodies, Medical Education and Research in the SAD-BJP government from 2012 to 2017.
Joshi said that he had never spoken against Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the central government.
“I am proud that I have been expelled for raising the issues of Punjab and I will walk with my head held high. They can expel me from party but they cannot remove me from the hearts of the people of the state. This is a medal for me,” he said.
In the two-page reply to the show-cause notice that he submitted on Friday, Joshi had asked the state party chief if it was “indiscipline to talk about arhtiyas, industrialists, small traders and labourers”. He had further said that workers are leaving the party and asked Sharma whether giving a suggestion to save the party was indiscipline.
Earlier, ridiculing the state BJP leadership, Joshi had told The Indian Express that the leaders who move around with dozens of gunmen should be asked to visit the nearest villages to gauge the popularity of the party. He had said that while the party leaders talk about contesting from 117 seats in the 2022 Assembly constituencies, they would find it hard to even enter a single village due to the protests against the farm laws.
He had also hit out at state general secretary Subash Sharma for issuing him the show cause notice saying that while Sharma could not even win an election, he (Joshi) was a former minister.
A two time MLA from Amritsar North Constituency, Joshi got associated with RSS and later BJP when his father was killed by terrorists in the early 1990s in Tarn Taran district. He became the head of the rural wing of the party in 2001 and won his first election as an MLA in 2007.
The BJP, meanwhile, has spared another senior leader of the party, Mohan Lal, from any action even though he too had made statements similar to Joshi. Also a former minister, Mohan Lal had openly accused the state BJP chief of sabotaging his political career. Incidentally, Sharma has in the past represented Pathankot Assembly constituency which was once the domain of Mohan Lal.
Mohan Lal had also accused the party leadership of having erred by not sticking with the farmers and failing to put forth their issues before the party high command in New Delhi. He had also defended Joshi’s statements in support of the farmers issues.
While there have been rumours that Joshi was in talks with the Akalis to join SAD. There have also been reports that another senior BJP leader from Jalandhar is also poised to join the SAD.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines