Uttarakhand: In rebellion for panchayat seats, BJP expels 96, sends notice to MLA

This is the first time that the BJP is taking action against so many of its own. The party top brass will be meeting in Dehradun on October 14 to discuss the panchayat polls and other organisational matters.

In Uttarakhand, the ruling BJP has expelled at least 96 party leaders over the last 10 days on disciplinary grounds following reports that they are contesting against the party-supported candidates in the ongoing panchayat polls.

This is the first time that the BJP is taking action against so many of its own. The party top brass will be meeting in Dehradun on October 14 to discuss the panchayat polls and other organisational matters.

BJP national vice-president Shyam Jaju, the party in-charge for Uttarakhand, and Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat will be present at the meeting which will also be attended by all party MPs, MLAs and members of district committees formed for the panchayat polls.

In a strong message against indiscipline, BJP state general secretary Rajendra Bhandari issued a show-cause notice Sunday to Raipur MLA Umesh Sharma after an audio clip, in which he is allegedly heard asking someone to vote against a party-supported candidate, did the rounds of social media. Sharma replied to the notice Tuesday.

Of the 96 leaders expelled so far, 21 are from Udham Singh Nagar, 14 in Tehri, 13 in Chamoli, 12 in Almora, nine in Nainital, six in Bageshwar, five in Pauri, four each in Champawat, Pithoragarh and Dehradun, and two each in Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi.

These leaders held the posts of presidents, vice-president, general secretary, secretary, executive committee members in district, mandal and booth units of the party and different wings of the organisation.

Uttarakhand BJP president Ajay Bhatt, in a statement, said such strong action against more party leaders and workers will be taken once it is confirmed that they indulged in anti-party activities in the panchayat polls.

State BJP media in-charge Devendra Bhasin said: “They were asked to withdraw nominations but they did not, and now the date of withdrawal has passed. They have been removed from the party.”

“By taking such action and also by issuing notice to an MLA, the party has given a message to the cadre that indiscipline will not be tolerated in BJP,” Bhasin said.

Polling for the first phase of the panchayat elections took place on October 6 while the remaining two phases are scheduled for October 11 and October 16.

As these elections are not contested on symbol of political parties, every registered political party declares authorised supported candidates who contest polls on symbols allotted by the Election Commission. The BJP has declared its supported candidates for only the zila panchayat member elections while it has allowed anyone in the party to contest elections for the village pradhan, block development committee members, village panchayat members. In the current panchayat polls, 431 zila panchayat members are to be elected in 12 districts.

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