New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has issued a show cause notice to suspended party MP Ram Jethmalani for allegedly breaking party discipline. Sources say that the party has asked Jethmalani to reply within 10 days why he should not be expelled from the BJP.
Reacting to the news, Jethmalani said, "I'm totally indifferent, will you stop this. I will not allow this to happened. I don't like this kind of thing. I am indifferent. Whatever they do doesn't bother me in the least."
"The Parliamentary Board confirmed the decision of national president Nitin Gadkari to immediately suspend Ram Jethmalani for his indiscipline and anti-party activities. He has also been issued a notice on why he should not be expelled from the party for six years," BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar told reporters after the meeting.
Kumar, however, said the issue of the statements made by its Lok Sabha MPs Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha against Gadkari and its Leaders of the Opposition in the two Houses of Parliament did not come up for discussion in the meeting. The two leaders have also demanded Gadkari's resignation.
Shatrughan Sinha had also supported Jethmalani in demanding the resignation of Gadkari.
Only the Parliamentary Board, BJP's highest decision- making body, has the authority to expel a party MP or an MLA. In 2009, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh had been expelled without being show-caused even though he is a Lok Sabha MP when he wrote a book praising Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah and holding Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel responsible for the Partition.
Earlier, BJP President Nitin Gadkari on Sunday suspended a defiant Jethmalani from the party with immediate effect for daring it to act against him on the CBI chief's appointment issue, saying it was "gross indiscipline".
Jethmalani invited the BJP wrath after attacking the party for criticising the appointment of new CBI Director Ranjit Sinha. The 89-year-old lawyer-turned-politician followed this up with remarks in Mumbai that no action can be taken against him by the BJP, virtually challenging the authority of Gadkari and other top leaders.
Jethmalani, BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan, has been speaking against the BJP top brass for the past few years. His tirade began with an attack on Gadkari when he asked the BJP President to step down immediately in the wake of charges of dubious funding of his Purti Group. His son and party leader Mahesh had also made the same demand.
The second salvo from Jethmalani came when he wrote to Gadkari criticising the BJP stand against the appointment of Sinha as the next CBI Director. Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that Sinha's appointment be kept in abeyance as the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha on Lokpal had suggested that the CBI director should be appointed by a collegium and this had not been followed by the government.
"Jethmalani's statement opposing the two leaders- Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj- has helped the Congress. The party has taken it seriously as sees it as falling within the ambit of gross indiscipline. The party cannot allow any of its members to make such public statements (against the party)," Hussain said. He maintained that Jethmalani's actions have harmed the party.
(With additional inputs from PTI)