The Telegraph
Saturday , July 27 , 2013
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Shatrughan stick

New Delhi, July 26: The BJP is likely to take disciplinary action against Shatrughan Sinha for “openly” speaking on the leadership joust in the party.

Sources said the process could be initiated once party chief Rajnath Singh arrives in Delhi over the weekend from his trip to the US.

“The remarks Shatrughan made constitute a breach of discipline. There is ground for action,” a source said, adding suspension could be the first step.

The “remarks” were comparisons made by the MP from Patna between L.K. Advani and Narendra Modi in TV interviews this week. He was seen as insinuating that Rajnath was playing a deeper game in a bid for the power sweepstakes.

Shatrughan said BJP workers like him and the “people of the country” would want to see Advani lead the nation because of the “innumerable sacrifices” he had made for the party.

“Modi, though, is very popular, he is a friend. If he is projected the PM candidate after the parliamentary board meeting, it would be great but our view is that Advani must be at the helm of affairs,” Shatrughan had told one channel. He described Advani as the “biggest, most important, tallest, most capable and most experienced leader of the country”.

He also termed Rajnath as “my friend” and said: “He might not say it himself. But he too is capable of becoming PM.”

A day later, he sought to modify his comments and argued that they were “neither anti-Modi nor pro-Modi” but “pro-BJP”. “I merely said that if the parliamentary board chooses Modi, whose name is energising party workers, as the PM candidate he should have the blessings and guidance of veteran leaders Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj, Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha,” Shatrughan said.

However, the party doesn’t seem impressed. “The dominant view is that it is time to crack the whip on those determined to muddy the waters, give the Congress a handle to sound gleeful at our so-called internal problems and divert attention for the more serious national issues,” a source said.

Suggestions have also been made that Shatrughan should be held up as an example for other “errant” members.

The MP stayed away from last month’s BJP national executive meet in Goa, where Modi was anointed the national campaign committee chairperson.