NEW DELHI: A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party gave a clean chit to party leader Kapil Mishra, accused of inciting violence in Delhi, questions are being raised on whether he had acted on his own or was following orders.
Moderates in the party raised their eyebrows when Shyam Jaju, national vice-president and Delhi in-charge, said categorically that Mr Mishra had “done no wrong” and his speech was “not provocative”.
Sources revealed that Mr Jaju’s remark has sent a signal to leaders like Gautam Gambhir, BJP’s first-time MP from East Delhi, that “criticism of polarising figures like Mr Mishra will not be entertained”.
When asked to respond to “inflammatory” speeches made by Mr Mishra, Mr Gambhir had said, “No matter who the person is, whether he is Kapil Mishra or anyone else, representing any party, if he has given any provocative speech, then strict action should be taken against that person”. Ram Vilas
Paswan’s LJP, a BJP ally, has also demanded that action be taken against leaders who indulged in hate speech. Former AAP legislator Mr Mishra, who had unsuccessfully contested the recent Assembly polls on a BJP ticket from Model Town, led a gathering in support of the CAA at Maujpur Chowk in the Jafarabad area on Sunday, after which violence erupted between pro and anti-CAA groups.
It is learnt that party leadership neither approved of Mr Mishra’s speech nor the pro-CAA protest he had led on Sunday.
Earlier, the party leadership believed that Mr Mishra should have avoided making inflammatory speeches that had attracted unnecessary attention. “But now the party leadership has decided to defend him. Mr Jaju’s clean chit to his party leader clearly shows that the BJP was firmly behind Mr Mishra,” a party leader said.
Moderates in the Delhi BJP, not too happy with Mr Jaju defending Mr Mishra, are questioning why, when everyone in the party was silent over the contentious matter, Mr Jaju had to openly back Mr Mishra.
They say that this could encourage other, small-time leaders to make provocative statements to raise their profile.
A moderate BJP leaders jokingly said that Mr Mishra, who gets more ‘retweets’ and ‘likes’ on social media than he gets votes, should be reigned in.
But Mr Jaju’s comments on the issue have clearly sent a strong message to East Delhi MP Mr Gambhir that he must think twice before commenting on such matters. “Mr Gambhir could have avoided naming Mr Mishra’s name while giving reaction to the media. Mr Jaju’s comment is a clear signal to him (Mr Gambhir) that he should not give reactions and avoid naming his party colleagues,” a saffron leader told this newspaper.
BJP ally and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, meanwhile, demanded an impartial probe into the violence in the national capital and said stringent action should be taken against the guilty, irrespective of their caste and religion. “I strongly condemn the violence seen in Delhi over the last few days. It happened when a foreign guest (US President Donald Trump) was in the country. An impartial probe should be conducted, and stringent action be taken against the guilty irrespective of their caste and
religion,” Mr Paswan tweeted.
Mr Paswan said that the visit of National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval to riot-hit areas to interact with locals and review the security measures underlines the Union government’s seriousness in the matter.