Dhirendra K Jha · May 07, 2015
Bharat Singh’s statement echoes Arun Shourie’s recent criticism of the party’s leadership.
A week after Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Shourie gave a controversial interview to a television channel about the party’s internal problems, his complaints have found an echo among party MPs. On Tuesday, the BJP’s parliamentary party meeting was halted abruptly as Bharat Singh, the MP from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, began to criticise the government in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Singh said that the government had failed to do “anything on the ground”, officials said, adding that his outburst was so abrupt that Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu, who was coordinating the meeting, had no option but to intervene.
Party general secretary in charge of organisation Ram Lal was also present.
According to officials, after Ram Lal praised the party’s energetic membership drive, Bharat Singh took the mike and said that because of the government’s inaction over the past year, MPs like him had to face the ire of the people in their constituencies.
Singh’s intervention stunned everyone and before he could speak further, Naidu intervened and declared that the meeting was over, officials said.
Modi, who was present in the meeting all through, did not speak, these officials added.
This is the first time after the formation of the BJP government last year that a party MP has criticised the government’s performance at a parliamentary party meet, and that too in front of Modi.
About a week ago, BJP leader Arun Shourie had shocked the party when he called the government’s economic policies “directionless” and accused Modi, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP president Amit Shah of monopolising the decision-making process.
Tuesday’s development is being seen by the party insiders as yet another indication of growing resentment against the autocratic functioning of Modi and Shah. In fact, it is this resentment that also explains as to why a letter signed by one “Bhanupratap Verma” making a scathing attack on Modi and Shah has found so much currency in party circles, even though its origins are dubious.
The letter has been sent to all party MPs and senior officials of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The purported writer describes himself “a former parliamentarian and an ex-member of the BJP’s national executive”. It minces no word and asks: “Will four Gujaratis continue to run the party and the country? (Shri Modi, Shri Shah, Shri Ambani, Shri Adani).”
Bhanupratap Verma is the name of the BJP MP from Jalaun in Uttar Pradesh, but he told Scroll.in that he had not written the letter. “I consider this letter as a conspiracy against me and my party,” he said. “Moreover, the writer of this letter calls himself a former parliamentarian, whereas I am sitting MP from Jalaun. How can I be the person?”
Nonetheless, the letter, which accuses party leaders of treating the party leaders and cadres as “bonded labour”, is being avidly discussed in BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh circles.
“It is not important who has written this letter,” said a BJP MP, who asked to remain unidentified. “The important thing is that it states the truth. Aren’t we being treated as bonded labour? Isn’t it true that the present leadership has no respect even for Advaniji?”