By Chandrakant Naidu
Bhopal, July 3 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stern criticism of indispline by partymen has evoked a mixed response in BJP circles in Madhya Pradesh, but since the immediate provocation for his outrage was the incident involving party General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya’s son, there is speculation over the fate of Akash Vijayvargiya for assaulting a civic official.
The key question is whether the party will walk Modi’s talk?
The general feeling is that the Prime Minister’s comments have been mostly for public consumption and that since he made them in a closed door meeting of party MPs, they have been relayed to the public by diverse people to suit their own agenda.
Modi’s reaction came after the incident where Akash Vijayvargiya, a BJP MLA from Indore, attacked a municipal official with a cricket bat during a demolition drive on June 26.
While some have praised the Prime Minister, others have used the statement to run a campaign against Akash’s father Kailash Vijayvargiya who is involved in a factional tussle with former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Indore Mayor Malini Goud.
The common refrain among political observers is that the Vijayvargiya group is flexing its muscles before elections for local bodies, due in a couple of months. The Prime Minister’s categorical directive to remove party workers and leaders who made a hero out of Akash is what gives the case a serious turn.
Vijayvargiya senior is projected as BJP President Amit Shah’s hatchet man. As General Secretary in charge of West Bengal he has been credited for the turnaround in the party’s fortunes by those who don’t care for the means but only the cause.
He was the man credited with roping in Dera Sacha Sauda “godman” Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, now in jail, for turning the electoral tide in Haryana in the BJP’s favour five years ago.
The BJP is now said to be behind the move to grant Ram Rahim parole before the forthcoming Assembly election in Haryana. So it would not be easy for the party to dismiss Vijayvargiya outright.
Yet, Modi’s remarks that “I do not care whose son he is. Any kind of abuse and arrogance will not be tolerated,” has left Indore in a hush.
At ground zero, the Indore MLA has shot off a letter to the Chief Minister on Monday to seek a CBI inquiry into the ongoing demolition of dilapidated houses which led to the whole episode.
Akash also alleged that Public Works Department Minister Sajjan Singh Verma was behind the demolition drive as he was eyeing property in the area.
Interestingly, the houses were marked for demolition a year ago when the BJP was in power in the state. Even the Madhya Pradesh High Court has ordered the demolition of the houses in question. The court has even asked the government to provide alternative houses for the evacuees.
On Wednesday, Akash avoided the media. Senior leaders of the party have also kept mum. Events planned to keep Akash in prominence among party supporters were also called off.
Party sources say Akash may be served a showcause notice asking him to respond in 15 days. But political observers have reservations about such notices serving any purpose.
The head of the BJP state committee for enforcing discipline, Babu Singh Raghuvanshi, says he has not received any complaint about Akash. Interestingly Raghuvanshi participated in the dharna in support of Akash. He is a known supporter of Kailash Vijayvargiya.
The previous complaint and showcause notice, served on MP Pragya Thakur who incurred Modi’s ire over her remarks praising Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse, has been gathering dust for over two months now.
Since she is now an MP the matter has been referred to the central disciplinary committee. One member of the committee, Ganeshilal, is now the Governor of Odisha while two others – Vijaya Chakravarty and Satyadev Singh – say party General Secretary Ramlal has to take a call on the issue.
If all that Prime Minister Modi said is to be taken seriously then the BJP should be acting not only against Kailash Vijayvargiya, but also Indore MLA Ramesh Maindola and Bhopal MLA Vishwas Sarang, who backed Akash to the hilt. Former minister Narottam Mishra has also supported Akash.
There are many more such cases that call for action.