With Chaudhary Lal Singh — the BJP minister who apparently resigned of his own will along with another minister Chander Prakash Ganga for defending the rape accused of 8-year-old Muslim minor girl from Kathua — again showing up in a rally on Tuesday to press for a CBI probe in the case, a report published by Hindustan Times says that the decision to boot out the two ministers was taken by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.
“On Friday [13 April], Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided that the two Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) ministers — Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga — in the eye of a storm for participating in a rally defending the Kathua rape accused had to go, said two leaders familiar with political developments that led up to the resignations,” the report said.
The report said that the PM and the BJP’s national leadership, including home minister Rajnath Singh, party president Amit Shah, party’s general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal, and party’s J&K minder Ram Madhav, then spent the day in overruling the concerns and objections of the state unit. By that evening, the report added, both ministers had sent their resignations to the party state unit chief, which was forwarded to CM Mehbooba Mufti the next day.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra on Monday accepted the resignations of both the ministers.
What triggered PM Modi to ask the two ministers to stand down from their portfolios was the widespread political and public outrage last week, the report added.
“Modi decided that the continuation of the ministers in the J&K government was ‘untenable’,” the report added.
The ‘two sacrifices’ were offered as “the decision was based on the fact that the party must not be seen as ‘defending rape accused’, nor of ‘communalising an issue and crime as heinous as rape’” the report said.
Earlier in the week, Mufti had met both the PM and home minister Singh to convey concerns about the situation in Jammu due to the incident and had informally conveyed the need for action, the report said.
“The state unit of the BJP was unhappy at the PM’s decision and communicated its concerns to the leadership. It suggested that this would demoralise the party rank and file; and this was a deliberate conspiracy by the Mehbooba Mufti government, which had done little to address BJP’s concerns, said a leader who was in communication with them,” the report added.
“State leaders also emphasised that this case was three months old and there was nothing against the party leaders; that there were NIA cases against Mehbooba’s own ministers but little action had been taken against them; and any such action — in response to pressure from the media and Mehbooba — would hurt the party electorally.”
Ram Madhav, BJP’s J&K minder, reached Jammu on Saturday morning to pacify the concerns raised by the state unit while dismissing any threat to the alliance.
Meanwhile, the BJP party has distanced itself from Lal Singh for again participating in a rally in support of the CBI probe in Kathua rape and murder.
The party has also initiated an internal inquiry against him and Ganga for earlier participating in Hindu Ekta Manch rally in support of the accused, a local report said on Wednesday.