Sushma storm exposes chinks in BJP

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 16, 2015 12:10 IST

The fault lines in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) resurfaced on Monday as a section of party leaders used the controversy over external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s help to former IPL chief Lalit Modi to target their colleagues.

Darbhanga MP Kirti Azad was quick off the block, alleging a “conspiracy” from within the BJP against Swaraj, under fire for helping get travel documents for Modi who is wanted in India on charges of money laundering.

“BJPs asteen ka saanp conspire against BJP leaders. Guess the snake?” Azad wrote on Twitter, as he expressed his solidarity with the foreign affairs minister, who took a back seat in party matters with Narendra Modi’s advent in Delhi.

Party colleague and fellow parliamentarian Shatrughan Sinha back the cricketer-turned-politician’s views. “He (Azad) is a very good friend of mine. Whatever he speaks is a well thought of remark. He general does not talk without thinking,” Sinha told reporters.

While these two went public with their views, many other leaders privately endorsed their views. Many of those blaming their party colleagues have long been striving for ministerial berths and plum organisational positions.

For instance, the Bollywood star-turned-politician had openly backed LK Advani for the Prime Minister’s post at a time when the party had made up its mind to project Narendra Modi as the PM candidate. A grand victory in 2014 helped the BJP to cover the fault lines within the party that struggled for several years to settle the leadership issue.

However, differences have re-surfaced in recent times. Party veteran Murli Manohar Joshi, who finds himself on the margins in the party, recently questioned some of the ambitious projects of the Narendra Modi government like cleaning the River Ganga.

Former Union Minister Arun Shourie earlier found fault with the economic policies of the NDA government. BJP sources suggested that discordant voices emanating from within the party were “born out of frustration” over not getting ministerial berths. “The Prime Minister and the party chief are solidly standing by Sushma Swaraj. Where is the question of any conspiracy?” said a BJP leader.

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