Worried over below-expectation performance in the recently held elections in five states, particularly the verdict in UP, in an apparent bid to send a strong message down the party's rank and file in Himachal Pradesh, which goes to polls this year, the Bharatiya Janata Party suspended Lok Sabha member Dr Rajan Sushant from the party for his public outburst against the Dhumal government.
The decision to suspend Sushant from the party was taken at a meeting of the central parliamentary board, presided over by veteran leader LK Advani.
"Since long Dr Rajan Sushant has been publicly making statements against the party and the state government. The then state party chief Khimi Ram had recommended action against Sushant. The central parliamentary board had taken note of Sushant's actions," said BJP spokesman Ganesh Dutt.
Known for shooting from the lips, Sushant had been upset with chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal over past one year.
One or the other occasion Shushant had publicly put the government in the dock, only making the ruling BJP more embarrassed.
Sushant had floated a forum Himachal Adhikar Manch and openly hit out at the BJP government over corruption, even as the Congress launched the "Himachal on Sale" campaign.
Sushant at one time had even sought narco test of chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal that hastened the then party chief Khimi Ram Sharma to recommend action against him.
Khimi Ram Sharma ousted Dr Rajan Sushant from the state executive. Alleging corruption in the state government, Sushant hit out at chief minister Dhumal's confidante irrigation and public health minister Ravinder Ravi and health minister Dr Rajeev Bindal.
After he fell silent for a while, off late Sushant had revived his campaign against corruption. Sushant's campaign against corruption had added to the nervousness of the ruling party plagued with factionalism.
Kangra's Lok Sabha member also joined the band of dissidents including two cabinet ministers and four legislators who along with former ministers and former Lok Sabha member Maheshwar Singh had submitted a dossier allegedly containing evidence of corruption to national BJP president Nitin Gadkari.
Failing to get timely response from Gadkari, Maheshwar Singh along with former ministers and former speaker quit the BJP to float a new political outfit - Himachal Lokhit Party. But what was more surprising for the ruling party was that Rajan Sushant's son Dharya Sushant not only joined the Himachal Lokhih Party but was given the task to lead the youth wing of the new political outfit.
Since that day speculations were rife that Sushant could later join the HLP. Though the party had been contemplating action for a long time but Sunday's suspension is being seen as an attempt by the party to bar Sushant from joining Himachal Lokhih Party. Election rules do not allow sitting Lok Sabha member to join other party. If Sushant still wishes to join another party, he will have to quit his Lok Sabha membership.
By suspending Sushant, the BJP has also tried to give a strong message down the line that action could be followed against those "embarrassing" the government. Two cabinet ministers - industries minister Kishan Kapoor and food minister - along with the four legislators - Bipin Singh Parmar, Khushi Ram Balnatah, Parveen Sharma and Desraj -had been skipping the party functions repeatedly.