Ranchi/Giridih, Oct. 17: In a desperate move to keep its house in order, the BJP today came down hard on three legislators — Ravindra Rai, Kunti Singh and Vishnu Bhaiya — for their alleged involvement in “anti-party” activities.
The MLAs have been suspended from the party and BJP state president Yadunath Pandey has asked them to reply to the showcause notices in the next seven days.
The trio recently came out in support of Babulal Marandi, just ahead of the Koderma bypoll, and that evidently did not go down well with the party top brass.
“It will send the right signals and have a positive impact on the outcome of the election,” Pandey told The Telegraph. “Our actions will prove that nobody is above the party. The BJP is firmly based on an ideology and is not driven by a single person.”
That the axe would come down on the triumvirate was apparent this morning when Pandey, in a meeting with newspersons, spoke on the matter. The party circulated the suspension letters among the media around four hours later.
While Rai and Kunti, Dhanwar and Jharia legislators respectively, invited the party’s “wrath” after openly criticising the leadership in a meeting on October 7, Vishnu, the Jamtara MLA, has been facing the heat after sharing the dais with Marandi and attending a JVM rally on October 12.
Rai, however, was unrepentant and described the move as “political opportunism” triggered by those who thrive on “drawing room politics”.
“They have no courage to face the reality. My support for Marandi stems from the sentiments of the BJP cadre. I was expecting this action and I will answer in due time,” Rai said.
Kunti was equally adamant and refused to budge an inch from her stance.
“I will continue to do whatever I think is right and is in the interest of the state. Let the party take whatever action it feels like,” she thundered.
Vishnu, too, echoed similar sentiments. “If it is a crime to speak up for the benefit of the state, I’ll continue to commit such crimes over and over again,” he said.
Marandi, however, appeared more level-headed in his response when he claimed that his fight was not against the NDA or the UPA.
“I am seeking a popular mandate to fight a battle against rampant poverty and illiteracy in the state,” he said.
“The BJP has taken the right step if the MLAs acted against the party. Now they can strengthen my position, no strings attached,” the former chief minister said from Koderma.