Former higher and technical education minister Laxmikant Sharma’s return to the BJP seems as difficult as his getting out of jail.
Sharma, an accused in as many as seven cases in the Vyapam scam, was arrested on June 15 last year and was released from the Bhopal Central Jail last week, only after moving several applications and making appearances before the lower and high courts.
But it is just a respite for Sharma from the jail life and not from the criminal cases he is facing, putting question marks on his move to return to the party.
Though Shrama, who had left the BJP after his arrest, has dropped enough hints about his comeback plan, the party leadership doesn’t seem to be in a hurry and continues to maintain a calculated distance from him.
It is despite the fact that several leaders, including the state BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan, expressed joy over Sharma’s release from jail.
Unlike the presence of a large number of BJP workers and leaders from Sironj (Sharma’s hometown), the party leaders and office-bearers of the state unit chose not to visit the jail to welcome him when the former minister was released on Sunday last.
Barring party leaders such as Prabhat Jha, Kailash Vijayvargiya and Raghunandan Sharma, hardly any other leader chose to be seen with Sharma in public.
State BJP media in-charge Hitesh Bajpai told HT that there was hardly any talk in the party about the former minister’s re-entry.
“When he had left the BJP he had said he would return to the party only after proving his innocence in the case,” said Bajpai.
A senior BJP leader said the former minister was out of jail but on bail only and he had not been acquitted by the court.
“Only the face of investigating agency has changed from the STF to the CBI. If the party allows him to rejoin, what would happen if CBI also finds him accused like the STF and files a challan against him in the court?” he said