Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a probe into the Chandigarh administration's decision to lock down the city and closure of schools during his visit on Friday following a huge public outcry, local member of Parliament Kirron Kher has defended the administration, claiming that the decision was in the 'larger interest of children'.
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) does not seem to be speaking in one voice on the issue with workers and leaders blaming the city leadership for the mess.
On the detention of Congress leaders, the BJP said it was purely the decision of administration and they had no role to play in it.
MP Kirron told HT, "The UT administration has responsible officers and they took the decision to close down the schools in the larger interest of the children to save them from inconvenience. Officials had reports that the Congress could stop school buses."
However, squarely blaming the administration for the mismanagement, Chandigarh BJP chief Sanjay Tandon said "They (the officials) did not adhere to our instructions. We had told them to change the route of the PM's cavalacade from the Dakshin Marg and also to organise the rally in Sector 34. On the closure of schools, it was the decision of the administration. I got to know from media that schools had been closed."
On some BJP leaders gunning for him for the poor management of the visit, Tandon said, "It may be their opinion and I cannot comment on this."
"Since the Prime Minister has showed concern and has ordered an inquiry into the closure of schools, there will be a clarity on the issue soon," said former MP Satya Pal Jain.
Ravi Prasad Kansal, BJP national executive member of Beopar Prakoshth, said, "I hold city BJP president Sanjay Tandon responsible for the poor show, as he failed to instruct officers as well as cadre of party to keep the cremation ground as well as the schools open. The rally was a flop and Tandon was busy in photo-shoot and trying to please the national leadership."
Former union minister Harmohan Dhawan said, "It was unfortunate that schools were closed and the cremation ground was also off limits. BJP leaders should have acted in a mature manner to save residents from harassment. The decision to detain Congress leaders was a decision taken purely by the administration."
BJP councillor Satinder Singh said, "It was a mismanaged show on the part of the party. We do not understand how they can stop people from cremating the dead. This has never happened in the history of the country."
Bickering over attendance
Following Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's statement that, "They (ostensibly the BJP) could not manage to bring much crowd to the rally," the local BJP unit leaders are indulging in blame game with the city leadership again drawing flak for being unable to pull locals to the rally.
"Top BJP leaders from the city did not make any effort to muster a crowd for the Modi rally. Except for holding only three meetings and being busy in getting their own banners and posters printed, nothing was done," a local leader claimed.