Even as arrest warrants have been issued against him in cases related to ‘dual votes’ and he has even been accused of backing an attack on the complainant, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looks in no mood to get its senior leader Anil Joshi to resign from the Punjab cabinet, so far.
However, the party has gone into a huddle over the contentious matter and local bodies minister Joshi has even been advised by a cabinet colleague to be “very cautious”.
State BJP president Kamal Sharma said on Monday that though Joshi’s bail plea was listed for hearing at a district court in Amritsar for Tuesday, there was still the option of going to the high court: “So, no reason for seeking resignation from him.”
But the party is certainly concerned, and senior leaders have decided to hold a meeting on the issue in Amritsar on Tuesday itself.
The saffron party’s top leader Arun Jaitley, who contested the Lok Sabha polls from Amritsar, is in regular touch with Joshi and is expected to take part in the meeting.
Joshi, an MLA from Amritsar North, is facing non-bailable arrest warrants for not appearing in the court that is hearing three cases against him – one pertaining to demolition of a building by the MC, and two defamation suits related to the dual-votes allegations.
The cases were filed by Amritsar based lawyers Sandeep Gorsi and Vineet Mahajan. As per the original allegation of dual votes — hearing of which is listed for next month — Joshi and some of his family members had made votes in Amritsar North as well the East segment.
Party leaders believe the case could have been handled better. “There were shortcomings on the part of our minister due to which things went out of control,” Kamal Sharma told HT, though he shielded Joshi by stressing that “the votes were cast only at one place”.
Industries minister and BJP leader Madan Mohan Mittal first said, “The matter is sub judice, so it is not proper to comment.”
But he added that “a minister is a public figure, and involvement of such people makes court cases sensitive”. Mittal, a lawyer, advised his colleague to be “very cautious”.
‘TRANSFER CASES AGAINST CONGMEN TO CRIME BRANCH’
Alleging involvement of Anil Joshi in the recent “murderous” assault on one of the complainants against him in the dual-votes case and a “false” FIR against another, Congress’ Amritsar candidate Captain Amarinder Singh’s team on Monday met state chief electoral officer VK Singh to demand a judicial probe into the matter.
“Joshi is in a position of power and can manipulate the investigations in his favour, ” MLA Rana Gurjit Singh told the CEO.
Stating that the attack is “indicative of the shape things can take once the code of conduct is over”, he demanded all complaints registered against his party leaders and workers during the election process be referred to the crime branch, “as the local police may not be able to do justice in these cases owing to pressure” of the state government.