Karuna Shukla, the niece of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and now a Congress leader, lashed out at the BJP on Saturday for making the former Prime Minister’s death a “political exercise”. She also demanded the resignation of two ministers in the BJP government in Chhattisgarh, who were allegedly caught on camera laughing during a remembrance meet in Vajpayee’s memory.
Shukla, a former MP, was part of the BJP for 34 years before joining the Congress five years ago.
Addressing reporters at the new Congress headquarters in Raipur, Shukla said, “I was already sad at what was happening after Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s death, but this has saddened me more. Across the country, a political spectacle is being made of his last rites. At the remembrance ceremony of India’s favourite son, a Bharat Ratna, a former PM, two ministers are seen looking at a phone and laughing. If the BJP has any decency left, I ask BJP president Amit Shah to remove Ajay Chandrakar (Minister for Health) and Brijmohan Agrawal (Minister for Agriculture) from their posts.”
“I feel they want to make Atal Bihari Vajpayee an election issue,” she said.
A senior BJP leader said the ministers had been pulled up by the party’s state and central leadership after they were allegedly seen laughing at the remembrance meet. A BJP general secretary based in Delhi had conveyed the party leadership’s displeasure to the ministers, the leader said. The ministers were unavailable for comment.