Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma, who once asked some Akali leaders to resign after their names cropped up in drug investigations, has been put in a spot by own drug-tainted associates. Hindustan Times talked to the beleaguered Bharatiya Janata Party leader about the questions he faces.
HT: You claimed the moral high ground on the drug issue but now leaders from your own party are accused.
Kamal Sharma: The case against the BJP workers of Ferozepur is not of drug supply but of corruption. In the case where Rajasthan Police arrested a BJP worker, I was linked to it without reason. That leader was expelled on June 14.
Can disowning people prove you clean? How could you not know what the men around you were up to?
Anyone can get involved in illegal activities anytime. Soon after the state BJP men were named, I threw them out of the party and asked the police to investigate them. What more could I do as a political leader? I am not a judge or police officer to recommend any immediate punishment. I did not even induct them. In Ferozepur earlier, they were with some other senior leaders. Don't blame me for their misdeeds.
Allegations suggest you are trying to shield these men?
I was the first to break the Ferozepur case to the media three days prior before the first-information report (FIR) was registered. Why would have I done that if I had to protect them? In Rajasthan we have a BJP government, and if did not have zero-tolerance to corruption, the party leader caught in that state would have escaped. In Rajasthan, even the Congress and Akali leaders have been caught supplying drugs.
The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party demand a CBI inquiry and your resignation. Even a section of the Akali-BJP combine wants your head?
I'm ready for any type of investigation by a state or central agency. If found guilty, I will quit not only the party post but also politics. Let the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) look into all drug cases of Punjab. I'm all for it. My detractors are going to the media with baseless documents to plant stories against me. But conspiracies are part of politics.
Who could conspire to defame you and why?
Some people who feel threatened when the BJP raises the drug issue strongly. I won't name them but I have told my party high command about them. A particular drug mafia of Punjab is behind all this, since the BJP is getting stronger day by day.
Why should you not resign? Have you met your party high command over this issue?
I have, in Delhi recently. Resignation is not an issue for me. I will follow whatever my party high command orders.