NEW DELHI, MAR 19 (PTI)
Former Union Minister and Delhi BJP strongman was today suspended from primary membership of BJP with immediate effect for the second time in six months, barely hours after he announced a plan to join the March 21 rally of expelled party leader Uma Bharti.
"BJP President Rajnath Singh has decided to suspend Khurana from the primary membership of the party taking into account his statements and utterances over the last few days," party vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who signed the suspenion order, told PTI.
A defiant sepatagenarian Khurana, who had earlier in the day announced that he would attend Bharti’s rally even at the cost of expulsion from the party, said he would react to the party’s decision tomorrow.
Khurana, a member of the party’s national executive who is apparently angry at not being nominated by BJP to Rajya Sabha polls, had raised a banner of revolt last week by accusing the party of not giving him any responsibility and had threatened to decide his course of action if the party does not pay heed to him.
The party’s tough action against Khurana is seen as a warning to some others in BJP attending Bharti’s rally. Bharti had invited another senior BJP leader and former union minister Sanghpriya Gautam to the rally.
The disciplinary action against Khurana came three months after Bharti was expelled from BJP for revolting against the party leadership over choice of Madhya Pradesh chief minister.
Khurana had been suspended in September last year for six years after he made a vituperative attack against then party president L K Advani and supported the anti-Narendra Modi dissidents in Gujarat.
However, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had taken strong exception at the manner in which Khurana was suspended without being given even an oppurtunity to be heard. Following Vajpayee’s intervention, a truce was worked out under which Khurana had expressed regrets for his statements against Advani and the party withdrew the suspension order.
However, the party did not restore his responsibilities including as northern zone in-charge and national executive member.
Khurana, a former Governor of Rajasthan, was later accomodated in the party’s national executive after Rajnath Singh took charge as the party chief in January this year.
Party sources said Rajnath Singh had been holding talks with Khurana over the last few days and had advised him not to take any hasty step.
The suspension of Khurana was also the first major disciplinary action taken by Rajnath Singh since taking party chief’s post in January this year.
Khurana had caused acute embarresment to the previous NDA government when he resigned as Union Minister protesting the attack on Christian missionaries and institutions allegedly by Sangh Parivar outfits.
Khurana, who had considered the Governership of Rajasthan as a "punishment posting," was keen to get back the reins of the Delhi unit of the party but BJP central leadership did not oblige.
Sources close to Khurana said unlike last time, Khurana would not be returning to the party-fold and would chart his course possibly in alliance with like Bharti.
After Khurana Sangha Priya Gautam flays BJP
NEW DELHI, MAR 19 (PTI)
Even as BJP suspended former Delhi strong man Madan Lal Khurana from the party’s primary membership, another senior party leader Sangha Priya Gautam has showered praise on expelled leader Uma Bharati and criticised leader of opposition L K Advani’s proposed national integration yatra.
Gautam, a scheduled caste leader and a former Union Minister, praised Bharati as a leader with popular base with a lot of support of the electorate.
He also alleged that the proposed yatras to be undertaken by both Advani and party president Rajnath Singh were aimed at "cheap popularity".
"You take out yatras for cheap publicity and pick on a leader who has voters on her side and who has support of masses," he said.
Gautam is presently a member of the party’s national executive and is counted among the leaders sidelined in the saffron party.