NEW DELHI: The BJP is not in a mood to take disciplinary action against the former Gujarat Chief Minister, Keshubhai Patel, although he has publicly stated that Chief Minister Narendra Modi must be defeated.
The chairman of the party’s disciplinary committee, Ram Naik, told reporters here on Wednesday that though he had the power to take suo motu notice of Mr. Patel’s anti-party utterances, he could also use his “discretionary” power.
Was the BJP afraid of taking action against Mr. Patel as that could affect its poll prospects? This question was repeatedly put to him and his answer was: “We did take action [in the past] against big leaders like Uma Bharti and Madan Lal Khurana. The party will act [in the Keshubhai matter] when it thinks it is appropriate.”
He added: “I do enjoy power to take suo motu action, but I also have discretionary powers. I will take notice [of Keshubhai’s indiscipline] only when the parliamentary party decides to take cognisance.”
Separately, a senior BJP leader noted that it was virtually impossible for the party to take any action against Mr. Patel at this juncture when the election process was on. “It would send a bad message and would certainly affect our prospects.”
Party leaders admitted that with clear signals of Patels’ disaffection with the BJP, action against their tallest leader, Mr. Keshubhai Patel, would only lead to complete alienation of this influential community from the party.