Sending a stern message to the rank and file of the BJP days after party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya’s son Akash was arrested for assaulting a public official with a cricket bat in Indore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said that arrogance and misbehaviour will not be tolerated irrespective of “whoever it may be, whoever’s son he may be”.
The Prime Minister made the remarks at the first meeting of the parliamentary party after the BJP returned to power with a landslide. Earlier, at the first meeting of the Council of Ministers, Modi had disapproved of a minister’s tweet on iftar gatherings.
At least three MPs who attended Tuesday’s meeting held at the Parliament Library Building, told The Indian Express that Modi said that those who had welcomed Akash after he was released from prison on bail should also be punished.
“The PM said those who welcomed him for what he had done should not be allowed to continue in the party. He said ‘Manmaani nahin chalegi’ (one cannot get away with doing whatever he or she wishes),” said one MP.
Akash, who was elected to the Madhya Pradesh assembly for the first time in the state elections last year, was arrested for assaulting an Indore Municipal Corporation official — an act that was caught on camera.
The 34-year-old was released on bail Sunday and garlanded by BJP workers in Indore when he walked out. In a video that surfaced on social media, Akash is seen chasing the IMC official and assaulting him with a cricket bat. The MLA has defended his action and refused to apologise. He was arrested and later released on bail by an Indore court.
“PM Modi today conveyed a clear message to all the party members that such behaviour is totally unacceptable, be it anyone,” BJP MP and spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters after the meeting.
Asked if the Prime Minister also suggested disciplinary action, he said: “The PM said if somebody behaves in such a way, then action should be taken against them. He made his feelings clear.”
A BJP leader pointed out that Modi also expressed his displeasure over the brazen defence by the MLA. “He (Modi) said if somebody has committed a mistake, there should have been a sense of regret as well,” he said. Kailash Vijayvargiya, general secretary in charge of West Bengal, was present at the meeting.
Modi reminded the MPs that several BJP leaders have worked hard for generations to bring success and glory to the party and acts of arrogance and misbehaviour could damage the party.
Expressing his unhappiness over the irregular attendance of party MPs, Modi said he was disappointed with their behaviour in the last 10 days.
“He literally scolded all of us. The PM appeared to have been upset with the absence of MPs when the triple talaq Bill was taken up. He asked us to imagine that if one wins an election by one lakh votes but realised that his best friend did not vote for him. PM said he has the same feeling about us,” said an MP.
In the meeting, BJP chief Amit Shah and its working president J P Nadda were also felicitated, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters. Joshi said Modi will launch the BJP’s membership drive from Varanasi on July 6 during which at least five trees should be planted by party workers in every booth across the country.
Modi dubbed the plantation exercise as “panchvati”, which according to the Ramayana, was the place where Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman had stayed in exile for 14 years.
While Modi will launch the membership drive from Varanasi, Shah will kick it off in Telangana and other party leaders in different parts of the country. July 6 is the birth anniversary of BJP ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee.