A former party vice-president, Seema Sharma, was suspended from primary membership of the BJP following an alleged argument with Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das during a meeting in Ranchi on Sunday. The BJP also suspended another leader from Palamu district, Ravindra Tiwari, for allegedly making anti-party and anti-government comments on social media.
Following her suspension, Sharma said she had just made a request for a two-way communication between the state party brass and workers during the meeting. Tiwari also cried foul and held a press conference on Monday, demanding that he should be clearly told as to which comment had been perceived as anti-party activity. He accused the CM of making objectionable comments on Brahmin party leaders of Palamu region.
In the suspension letter issued to Sharma, BJP general secretary Deepak Prakash said her behaviour during the meeting was not in consonance with the party tradition and was considered to be a serious act of indiscipline by the state leadership. “Under the directions from state party president Laxman Gilua, you are suspended with immediate effect from the primary membership of the party,” the letter said.
In a similar letter, Tiwari was told that his act of posting a series of comments on the social media against the Party and the government was considered to be a serious act of indiscipline. When contacted, state organisation secretary Anant Kumar Ojha said the action was taken as the acts of the two leaders were considered inappropriate. “An act was considered inappropriate by the top leadership and action has been taken,” he said.
BJP sources said the meeting was held to chalk out a plan to exhort party workers, office bearers, MPs and MLAs to raise funds for the party in the wake of the fact that it had expanded a lot in the last couple of years. “The agenda of the meeting was not related to taking up local or individual issues of the workers or leaders. The meeting had only one specific agenda,” a party source said.
Talking to The Indian Express, Sharma said she had raised the issue only after the CM and the party president had spoken. “I had no pre-fixed issue to be raised. But some workers at the back wanted to put forth their issues. The party president and the CM made their remarks in the meeting and I raised the issue during vote-of-thanks. But the CM retorted strongly, saying that this is not the forum. I only said that workers feared him and were not able to express their views. For me, the matter ended there itself. If they ask for any reply, I would put forth my views as I feel,” Sharma, who has been party vice-president for three terms and is currently a member of the executive committee, said.
On the other hand, Tiwari claimed he felt bad about the CM making a statement in Garhwa on caste lines. A few days ago, Das had said leaders from Garhwa, a Brahmin majority district, were promoting casteism. “I want to know whether the procedure (for suspension) has been adhered to. Has any showcause notice been issued? Has any clarification been sought? Suddenly, I come to know from the media that I have been suspended. They should tell me which specific comment on social media by me was found inappropriate,” Tiwari said.
Palamu district BJP chief Narendra Pandey brushed aside Tiwari’s claims and said the CM had only spoken about development. “As far as the alleged comment of the CM made on December 6 in Garhwa during a pre-budget meeting is concerned, he said something very general – that the only politics in the state is about development and not casteism,” Pandey said.