Is this why people voted for us: PM Modi on Akash Vijayvargia’s cricket bat attack
“I don’t care whose son he is,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi with obvious anger and irritation, referring to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary, Kailash Vijayvargiya, whose son, Akash Vijayvargia, went after a civic official with a cricket bat.
Modi’s speech at the BJP’s parliamentary party meeting also had words for all BJP members of parliament (MPs) lax about attendance. In the course of his speech, he also explained how he chooses a team and how attendance is a big part of this.
Modi’s stern message (or messages) was at odds with the celebratory mood prevalent when the meeting began. But that changed rapidly. “Do you think this is the reason people voted for us?” he asked, referring to the Akash Vijayvargia incident. Kailash Vijayvargia, widely considered a key factor in the party’s good showing in West Bengal where it won 18 of 42 seats, was seated in one of the back rows during the PM’s speech.
“The Prime Minister was visibly angry,’’ said an MP, who asked not to be named. He spoke on the issue “ for quite a while and asked for the those in the video seen welcoming Akash Vijayvargia after his release from prison, to be sacked.’’ The Prime Minister said he would like to know “ what valour had the person in the video [Akash Vijayvargia] showed to deserve such a great welcome from party workers,” the MP added.
“The PM said any kind of misbehaviour that hurts the party’s name is unacceptable. He said that action should be taken if someone has done something wrong. He also said that is applicable to everyone,’’ said Rajiv Pratap Rudy to the media after the meeting.
Akash Vijayvargia’s exploits with a bat weren’t the sole focus of the meet, though. Responding to a comment from parliamentary affairs minister, Prahlad Joshi, about poor attendance on the treasury benches, Modi said this was a bit like winning an election “with a margin of 2-3 lakh and then realising your best friend hasn’t voted for you?’’ “How would you feel if Amit Shah was going to come to campaign for you and then cancelled two days before?” he added.
The Prime Minister brought home the point of attendance by linking it to promotions. He asked if the MPs knew how he chose his council of ministers. He then went on to tell them about how he went through attendance records, interventions, questions and how MPs interacted in parliamentary committees. “I rank everyone according to all this and then decide the ministers,’’ he said.
Towards the end of his speech, the Prime Minister asked MPs to plant five saplings each in all booths of their constituencies.
“It is a very good decision to rein in people. Shows he is in greater command than in 2014. He has to demonstrate that ‘sabka vikas’ is not a ‘jumla’ for him,” said writer and biographer Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay.
“Vijayvargiya is of course not a nobody in the party and admonishing him albeit without taking names is a clear message that he is not going to allow culture of entitlement to become part of BJP ethos,” he added.