Himachal ex-BJP chief Rajeev Bindal’s cryptic post on social media creates flutter in party circles

Bindal incommunicado after asking party and state government to introspect on what they have lost, gained
Five-time MLA Rajeev Bindal (right) with Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur. Bindal is a former speaker of the state assembly.(HT file photo)
Five-time MLA Rajeev Bindal (right) with Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur. Bindal is a former speaker of the state assembly.(HT file photo)
Updated on Sep 01, 2020 04:14 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Shimla | ByGaurav Bisht, Shimla

Rajeev Bindal, who quit as state BJP chief on May 26 after his name surfaced in connection with the bribery scandal involving Dr Ajay Gupta, then Himachal director, health services, created a buzz in party circles with a cryptic social media post on Monday night, saying the BJP and the Jai Ram Thakur government should introspect on what they have lost and what they’ve gained.

“Bharatiya Janata Party nay kya khoya kya paya va BJP sarkar nay kya khoya kya paya, iska akalan karna chahiye (The BJP and the government should analyse what they have gained and what they’ve lost),” Bindal, a five-time legislator, wrote on Facebook and Twitter on Monday night. He is incommunicado since then.

State unit chief Suresh Kashyap, who has cracked the whip on dissidence in the past fortnight, refused to draw any inference from Bindal’s Facebook and Twitter posts, dismissing them as “Bindal ji’s personal views”.

“Whatever Bindal ji has posted are his personal views. He has expressed his opinion on social media not on any party platform. One cannot draw any inference from the post,” said Kashyap, who represents Shimla in the Lok Sabha.

Less than four months after being appointed state unit chief, Bindal had stepped down when health director Dr Ajay Gupta was arrested by the State Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau for irregularities in the purchase of equipment by the department. In his resignation letter to BJP national president JP Nadda, Bindal wrote: “Fingers are being raised at the BJP after the arrest of the former director, health services. Being the state BJP president, I feel the matter should be investigated thoroughly without any pressure. I am submitting my resignation on moral grounds.”

AUDIO CLIP VOICE SAMPLES MATCH

Meanwhile, the voice samples of the audio clip of the conversation between Dr Gupta and Prithvi Singh, an employee of a Punjab-based medical equipment supply firm who is also behind bars, have matched. In the clip that was widely shared on social media in May, Dr Gupta is heard demanding Rs 5 lakh for clearing personal protective equipment (PPE) kit orders for the state health department.

Investigators had sought information from the state government on whether Bindal had recommended extension in the service of Dr Gupta, who was due to retire on June 30. The vigilance team could not find any such evidence.

REACHING OUT TO SULKING LEADER

Meanwhile, Bindal’s successor Kashyap is trying to quell dissidence within the state unit. More than half a dozen squabbling leaders of the state BJP’s Mahila Morcha were divested of their responsibilities recently.

BJP general secretary in-charge of Shimla parliamentary constituency Purshottam Guleria has been assigned the task of holding consultations with Bindal, who has been sulking since chief minister Jai Ram Thakur did not induct him into his cabinet even though he was unanimously elected Vidhan Sabha Speaker later.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021