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BJP disowns self-proclaimed saffron leader after photo with assault rifle goes viral

The BJP distanced itself from Ashish Sareen after the uproar, with state party president Sat Sharma insisting that he isn’t an active member.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2017 21:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jammu
BJP,AK-47 assault rifle,Viral photo
Ashish Sareen, who claims to be the vice-president of the Jammu BJP unit and the former vice president of the local Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha, posted the image on his Facebook page with the caption ‘Don is Don’.(AFP Photo/Representative Image)

A few days after the Congress grounded alleged party activist Salman Nizami for making derogatory references to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is now the BJP’s turn to disown a self-proclaimed saffron leader for brandishing an AK-47 assault rival in a viral photograph.

Ashish Sareen, who claims to be the vice-president of the Jammu BJP unit and the former vice president of the local Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha, posted the image on his Facebook page with the caption ‘Don is Don’. He has now removed it.

Sareen’s account also has photographs where he shares the frame with Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh.

The BJP distanced itself from Sareen after the uproar, with state party president Sat Sharma insisting that he isn’t an active member. “I have been heading the BJP state unit for the last two years, and – to my knowledge – he does not hold any post whatsoever in the party. He is neither the general secretary nor the vice president… he is not even in the block committee. We don’t endorse such images,” said Sharma, adding that the photograph was probably clicked during “election time”.

Meanwhile, Sareen apologised for the photograph and stated that it was uploaded by his brother from his phone. “Many national leaders have photographs with guns, and I am just a local leader. It was not done with any wrong intention, but I would still like to apologise for it,” he told a news agency.

First Published: Dec 13, 2017 21:20 IST