Backing state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Kamal Sharma, who is in the eye of storm for the alleged links of his aides with the drug mafia, Punjab party affairs incharge and Rajya Sabha member Prabhat Jha on Wednesday gave a clean chit to him.
Party sources, however, say some leaders of the state unit of the party may not accept the clean chit by Jha who does not frequent the state quite often. Jha, who is in Chandigarh these days to coordinate with the state unit of his party and oversee the arrangements for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s September 11 visit, told HT over phone: “He (Kamal Sharma) is unnecessarily being dragged into a controversy. I am sure that he has no links with the drug mafia.”
“Everyone in the party knows about Kamal. Pointing fingers at him is not fair. The drug mafia has a typical modus operandi as they try to malign the image of the one who opposes them,” said Jha, who seems confident about Sharma being innocent despite the state party leaders making claims of his aides having connections with the drug mafia.
“This is politics, but the BJP leaders should not work against party men,” he said, adding that the party was keeping an eye on elements that were creating problems and action would be taken against them. Sharma’s first term as state BJP president ends in November and is seeking re-election. A section of the state BJP is opposing him and don’t want to see him in the saddle again. “Our party has a democratic set up and I am sure no one would object in case shortcomings of a state president are pointed,” said Jha.
‘NO CALL ON PRE-POLL PACT WITH SAD’
Though Jha accepted that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was a formidable partner of the coalition government in the state and the Centre, he refused to commit that the BJP would contest the 2017 assembly polls in Punjab in coalition with Akalis. “Let the time come,” he said adding that the Aam Admi Party (AAP) had lost sheen after Delhi assembly polls and would not make much impact in Punjab.
‘PUNJAB DESERVES A BIHAR-LIKE PACKAGE’
Even as the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre is non-committal on the financial package to Punjab, Jha said the state also deserves a financial package announced for the poll-bound Bihar recently.