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BJP goes slow on MLA Gupta as he finds support in more MLAs

The ruling BJP may have issued a show cause notice to its Laksar MLA Sanjay Gupta after he accused chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat of neglecting development in Haridwar but it is unlikely that he would be expelled or punished, insiders said.

dehradun Updated: Jul 16, 2018 22:15 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
BJP MLA Sanjay Gupta. (HT Photo)

The ruling BJP may have issued a show cause notice to its Laksar MLA Sanjay Gupta after he accused chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat of neglecting development in Haridwar but it is unlikely that he would be expelled or punished, insiders said.

The BJP’s Uttarakhand unit has already started showing signs of going soft on Gupta in view of the support he is getting from most ruling party MLAs. Gupta was issued the show cause notice on Sunday evening, a day after he accused Rawat of neglecting development works in the Haridwar Lok Sabha constituency. It has 11 assembly segments and the BJP won eight of them.

“Taking any drastic action against the legislator concerned, like expelling him, will be unwise because we have to keep our party intact,” said a senior state BJP office bearer. “It will also be risky because most of our legislators are on the same page with him (Gupta) on the issue of the CM neglecting development.”

Officially, however, the BJP vehemently defended Rawat.

In fact, ever since Gupta accused the CM of neglecting development in his constituency, two other BJP legislators from Hridwar — Suresh Rathore and Yatishwaranand — have come out openly in his support. Rathore represents Jwalapur, a reserved assembly seat and Yatishwaranand is an MLA from Haridwar rural.

On Saturday, Gupta alleged that the chief minister had not carried out spot inspection of development works in his constituency since the BJP government was formed in 2017 despite his request. The Laksar MLA lashed out at Rawat on a day when the latter attended the wedding ceremony of the now expelled Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader from Haridwar Mohammad Sahahzad’s son.

Speaking to reporters Gupta said the CM had time to attend the marriage party but failed to spare time to attend a conference recently organised by the Arya Samaj in Haridwar or carry out inspection of development works in Laksar. The very next day (Sunday), the BJP’s Uttarakhand unit served a “show cause” notice to its Laksar MLA.

Talking to HT on Sunday, Rathore alleged that Rawat had been neglecting his reserved constituency as well. “The chief minister has not visited my constituency and those of other BJP legislators in Haridwar even once to review development works,” he alleged.

As a result, Rathore alleged, development in his constituency “is getting affected, which may reflect on the party’s prospects” in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “The majority of 57 legislators of our party are (therefore) unhappy with the chief minister and may urge the high command to have him replaced,” he added.

However, after Rathore, Gupta now has got support from another fellow party MLA Yatishwaranand. He is on record stating that if Gupta has raised the issue of development in Haridwar not getting due attention, it should be taken seriously and due action should be taken on his complaints.

“If we are not accountable to the people we will start losing our credibility and they will stop trusting us,” the local media quoted Yatishwaranand as saying. Echoing similar sentiment, a BJP MLA from Kumaon said development “not getting due attention is a problem all ruling party legislators are facing.”

The BJP rubbished the allegation. “There is no question of the CM discriminating against any of our MLAs. He has been regularly reviewing development works in all 70 constituencies in the state,” said party spokesperson Munna Singh Chauhan.

The ruling party, however, gave signs of not initiating strong action against its MLAs accusing Rawat of neglecting development.

“We will see when it comes to that,” state BJP general secretary Naresh Bansal said dismissively when asked if Gupta would be expelled from the party, if found guilty. Echoing the sentiment Chauhan added, “We believe in correcting our party men rather than punishing them.”

First Published: Jul 16, 2018 22:14 IST