BJP suspends Kirti Azad for anti-party activities
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New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suspended Kirti Azad after his allegations of corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) at a time finance minister Arun Jaitley headed the body.
Azad was being suspended from the party with immediate effect for his anti-party activities, the BJP said in a statement.
Azad, a BJP Lok Sabha member from Bihar, was issued a show-cause notice for indiscipline and defying party orders not to involve the finance minister in the issue.
He has been asked to explain his anti-party conduct, and further action will depend on his reply, the BJP said.
“What anti-party activity have I indulged in? I have been raising this issue since nine years. I never asked for Jaitley’s suspension; I just said that the corruption in DDCA took place in his tenure,” Azad said, reacting to his suspension.
“In fact, I support the prime minister’s fight against corruption. If the party suspends one man who has honestly worked for the party, then it is the party’s misfortune,” he added.
BJP president Amit Shah had summoned Azad on Friday, cautioning him against naming Jaitley in his allegations against the DDCA.
However, Azad went on to hold a press conference on 20 December, alleging irregularities and mismanagement in the DDCA during Jaitley’s term between 1999 and 2013.
Even though Azad did not name the finance minister, his allegations pointed towards Jaitley’s involvement.
Political parties such as the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which have also been demanding action against Jaitley, were quick to react to this suspension.
“Is this going to be the fate of all those in BJP who raise issue of corruption? First Ram Jethmalani and now Kirti. Next Shatrughan Sinha?” Congress leader Digvijay Singh tweeted.
“Kirti Azad’s fault was that he spoke against corruption. Today, the BJP has been exposed. It is completely drenched in corruption,” Delhi chief minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
Interestingly, Azad was kept out of the criminal defamation suit filed by Jaitley against Kejriwal and five other AAP members in the Delhi high court and the Patiala House court on Monday.
It is not the first time that Azad has pointed fingers at Jaitley. In 2013, Azad, along with former cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi, had demanded Jaitley’s resignation as DDCA’s president due to his “incapability and incompetence in handling the affairs of DDCA” and for “ruining Delhi’s cricket”.
Earlier in 2012, too, he had demanded Jaitley’s suspension from the cricketing body.
The story has been corrected as pointed out by a reader Kirti Azad is a Lok Sabha MP. The story has since been corrected.