Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Chaman Lal Gupta on Wednesday said he continues to be leader of the party in the state assembly even though the party high command has not revoked his 2011 expulsion.
BJP on Tuesday revoked the expulsion of five of its seven legislators who had allegedly defied the party whip and indulged in cross-voting during elections to the upper house of the state's bicameral legislature in 2011.
While five of the seven MLAs were taken back into the party fold on Tuesday through a communication issued by BJP president Rajnath Singh, the expulsion of two others -- Chaman Lal Gupta and Jagdish Sapolia -- was not revoked.
Interestingly, while the BJP had said in 2011 that seven of its MLAs had been expelled from the party for defying the party whip while voting for the legislative council elections, Tuesday's party communication said the "suspension of five BJP MLAs of J&K has been revoked".
Speaking to IANS in Jammu Wednesday, the senior BJP leader who was also leader of the BJP legislature party before the 2011 cross-voting controversy, said: "I continue to be the leader of the BJP in the state assembly.
"I am a party loyalist and have been one all my life. I will continue to serve the BJP with all my strength."
Asked why his expulsion had not been revoked while five of his party MLAs had been taken back into the BJP fold, Gupta said: "This question had better be asked of those who revoked the suspension."
Another BJP legislator, Jagdish Sapolia, who represents the Basohli assembly constituency in Jammu region in the 87-member state legislative assembly, whose expulsion has also not been revoked, said: "I do not know what criteria the central leadership of the party has adopted in deciding to take back only five MLAs, whereas the charges and allegations were levelled against all of us."
He, however, added that BJP's prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was a towering political figure whom he held in high regard.
"He can change the developmental scenario of the entire nation and has the capacity to deliver on all fronts of governance, which is why I would support him without any doubt," Sapolia said.
The five MLAs whose expulsion was revoked by the BJP Tuesday are Baldev Raj, Master Lal Chand, Durga Dass, Bharat Bhushan and Gharu Ram.