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Rajnath hauls up BJP celebs

This is the first time, the BJP celebrities are not to be seen and no information was given to the party, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Dec 31, 2006 18:45 IST

BJP President Rajnath Singh has not taken lightly the absence of party's star heavyweights Shatrughan Sinha, Hema Malini, Vinod Khanna, Dharmendra and Maneka Gandhi at the key conclave of the party in Lucknow, which was held between December 22 to 24.

All of them are Members of Parliament. Normally, they occupy the front rows of the BJP conclaves and get photographed with senior leaders. This is the first time, the BJP celebrities were not to be seen and no information was given to the party.

Singh has now asked his office to send them letter to explain why they failed to attend the BJP national council, which was held to ratify his election as party chief for the next three years.

Singh is irked because he has pledged to enforce discipline in the party, and wants to know whether the MPs informed the parliamentary party or the general secretaries concerned.

Similar letters are being sent to BJP MLAs who are members of the national council but did not attend its meeting.

"They can be celebrities but they are Members of Parliament belonging to the BJP. They cannot take their position so lightly," said an aide of Singh.

In fact, it was at the Lucknow conclave, Singh took up the issue of discipline, saying, "Discipline can be enforced in two ways - through fear and voluntary efforts."

The BJP chief added that an element of fear of punishment is necessary for discipline "but its fundamental source should stem from self restraint exercised by all the workers." Significantly, the RSS has always favoured a crackdown on indiscipine.

Singh had concluded the three-day party's national council, announcing that any BJP leader or worker in the country could directly send him proposals and suggestions for bringing positive changes in the party.

Singh also wants the BJP agitations to be a big affair and not done just for media spotlight. He has also indicated that he wants in his new team of office bearers who are willing to work hard.

He announced BJP's agitation in three phases, to highlight the UPA government's "failure" on the economic, security and social fronts.

The first phase from January 16 to February 16 will cover all districts where the issues of price rise, unemployment and internal security will be taken up at village level. "In every village, the BJP flag will be unfurled at the conclusion of the agitation."

In the second phase, ten million signatures would be collected by the BJP's youth wing to be presented to President Abdul Kalam, seeking execution of Parliament attack accused Mohammed Afzal Guru. The third phase from mid-April to mid-May will be "jail bharao" agitation all over the country.

First Published: Dec 31, 2006 18:45 IST