BJP notice to MLA Raj Purohit who was caught on camera criticising PM Modi
Mumbai: The BJP in Maharashtra today issued show cause notice to party lawmaker Raj Purohit and sought his response within three days over a sting operation video, purportedly showing him making caustic comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah.
The party said that Mr Purohit's action "breached" organisational discipline, and asked him to reply to its state president Raosaheb Danve within three days, failing to which action would be taken against him.
"Mr Purohit, a former minister and lawmaker from Colaba in Mumbai, has been asked to explain his position and give a written explanation within three days," a BJP spokesperson told PTI.
The video clip, aired by some news channels and also uploaded on a few websites, has left the BJP red-faced, at a time when the party is under attack from its rivals at the Centre and in Maharashtra.
In the video, Mr Purohit is shown to agree with the interviewer, whose identity is unknown, that PM Modi and Amit Shah are the only ones wielding power in the party and there is allegedly no internal democracy in the BJP.
On the Centre's policies, he was shown saying that "Narendra-bhai is doing good work, but he should avoid the mistakes he is making. Some of his decisions are alienating certain groups likes traders, who are the BJP's hardcore supporters.
"People talk of collective leadership, but it is simply absent. This is a dangerous sign for the party," he purportedly said.
He is also reportedly heard describing Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as "helpless" in the face of "pressure from above" and from influential individuals like builder and Malabar Hill lawmaker Mangal Prabhat Lodha and ridiculing Raj Thackeray as a "bogus" leader.
The sting also shows Mr Purohit claiming that he is the senior most BJP leader after Eknath Khadse (Excise Minister) in the state and "should have been made a minister".
Mr Purohit has claimed that the voice in the video was not his. He has demanded that the video be sent for forensic testing.
Meanwhile, NCP chief Sharad Pawar told reporters in Aurangabad that Mr Purohit episode only reflected the general sentiment of many of the BJP legislators.
"The sentiments which a senior BJP legislator like Raj Purohit has expressed, is shared by many in that party," Mr Pawar said.
In the sting video, Mr Purohit, who was a minister of state in the Shiv Sena-BJP government of 1995-1999 in Maharashtra, is purportedly shown as saying that builder-turned-lawmaker Mangal Prabhat Lodha wields influence with the top rung of the BJP and RSS.
"Traders were fed up with the Congress's policies and were expecting more from the BJP. But what laws have you made? If you want to buy gold worth over Re 1 lakh, you have to be a PAN card holder. When half the economy is being run on black money, if you compel traders to make PAN cards, their business will definitely be affected," Mr Purohit reportedly says.
He further says,"The Centre has come up with a bill to curb black money. It's a policy contradiction. On one hand you allow foreign investment, and on the other you seek accountability for each and every rupee. The punishment of 10 years is the same as for culpable homicide. I sit among the top traders of the country. No one is happy with the policy."