Rebel BJP MP Ram Jethmalani, who quit the party on three occasions previously and even contested against Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2004, was expelled from the primary membership of the party for six years on charges of “breach of discipline.”
His exit also marks a low point for the clout of senior BJP patriarch LK Advani, his lone backer who tried his best for revocation of his suspension. But Jethmalani’s act of gatecrashing into the BJP parliamentary party meeting on May 7 sealed matters for him.
That day, 87-year-old Jethmalani, had in the presence of Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely, accused them all of being soft on the UPA government on the corruption issue.
He alleged that BJP is in a state of flux and not active enough in targeting the ruling party.
Jethmalani also asked the party leadership as to why no action was taken on removing him from the party though over three months had passed since he was served a notice.
Soon after his outburst, BJP MPs Ananth Kumar, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Shahnawaz Hussain among others spoke against Jethmalani’s behaviour and said this should not be tolerated. Several MPs suggested that he should be thrown out of the party.
Jethmalani was suspended on November 25 last year after he attacked then party chief Nitin Gadkari who later resigned over reports about Purti Group.
Two days later, he attacked Swaraj and Jaitely for opposing Ranjit Sinha as the new CBI director.
As Jethmalani attributed personal motives to Jaitely who wrote to the PM questioning the timing of Sinha’s appointment when the government was supposed to reaching a consensus to pass the lokpal bill, the BJP had to suspend him.
On Tuesday, in a letter to Jethmalani, Ananth Kumar who is BJP general secretary, said the party’s parliamentary board, which met a day earlier, had taken a unanimous decision to expel him from primary membership of the party, after going through his replies made in response to a show cause notice in November last year.
Jethmalani was also told that he defied the party whip by not voting for the election of the members of the Committee on Public Undertakings.
The BJP also made it clear that his expulsion was without “without prejudice to any action that may be initiated against him under Tenth Schedule of the Constitution” for disqualifying him as member of the Rajya Sabha.