Even as the outspoken party legislator Choudhary Lal Singh has stepped up attacks on Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the ruling BJP appears to be not in mood to “rein in” its former forest minister.
Although some ministers have been mounting pressure on the party to stop Lal Singh from directly attacking the CM, the leadership is convinced that he has, so far, not indulged in any anti-party activity or indiscipline which warrants action.“There is no reason, so far, to take action against Lal Singh, who is the party’s prominent leader,” Ashok Koul, general secretary (organisation), BJP, told Kashmir Post. However, he refused to react on the contents of Lal Singh’s speeches during his rallies across the Jammu region.
Echoing similar sentiments, party in charge of J&K Avinash Rai Khanna told Kashmir Post that he had not received any complaint against Lal Singh from the state unit so there was no logic to stop him from holding public rallies.Since the day he was forced to resign from the council of ministers for supporting a CBI probe into the Kathua case, Lal Singh has minced no words in attacking Mehbooba.
On April 13, Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga were forced to resign from the council of ministers as they had attended a rally organised by Hindu Ekta Manch on March 1. In the rally, a demand was made for handing over the Kathua case to the CBI.Even as a BJP faction is mounting pressure on the leadership to take action against Lal Singh, the party appears to be reluctant due to the mass base of the former minister.
In his rallies, Lal Singh is trying to invoke Dogra sentiments while charging the CM with discrediting this ethnic minority of J&K to keep the Hurriyat and other separatist groups in good humour. “We are demanding a CBI probe into the case to ensure justice to the victim but we are dubbed as supporters of rapists through a vicious campaign launched from the Valley,” Lal Singh repeatedly said in his roadside meetings.
Shah stands by party ministers
As BJP national president Amit Shah has defended the party ministers in the Kathua case, Lal Singh has intensified his campaign against CM Mehbooba Mufti. In an interview to a national channel, Shah had made it clear that BJP ministers had never intervened in the investigation of the case. He said two BJP ministers had resigned on moral grounds due to public perception.