Uttarakhand: BJP suspends former minister for seeking suspension of CM Rawat

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suspended former minister Lakhi Ram Joshi for writing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat’s removal over corruption charges.

State BJP chief Bansidhar Bhagat, who ordered the suspension, said Joshi’s letter amounted to gross indiscipline. “He has also been served a show-cause notice to which he has to reply in seven days. No member of the party; no matter how big can indulge in indiscipline as the discipline is the most important aspect of our party,” he said. “If anyone has any issue, he should raise it before me. I would take it to the proper platform, if needed, but would not tolerate any indiscipline.”

Joshi’s letter dated November 11 came to light after Opposition Congress leaders shared it on social media. HT has a copy of the letter.

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The letter came days after the Uttarakhand high court ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against Rawat over corruption charges. The Supreme Court later stayed the order for four weeks.

Joshi cited the high court order in his letter and said Rawat’s decisions and statements have left the party red-faced since he came to power three years earlier. “The recent high court order on the CBI probe against him further maligned the image of the party.”

Joshi accused Rawat of helping some people close to him with their alleged black money when Rs 500 and Rs 1,00 notes were demonetised in 2016. “Considering the corruption allegations which are maligning the image of the party daily, I request you to immediately relieve Rawat from the position of the chief minister to allow a fair probe against him.”

Rawat’s media advisor, Ramesh Bhatt, called the allegations against the chief minister completely baseless. “Anyone can make any allegations but that does not prove that the chief minister is indulging in corruption.”

Joshi could not be reached for comments immediately.

Opposition Congress leader Garima Dasauni said Joshi has echoed them and accused Rawat of “rampant corruption”. “Now this letter from the BJP leader has just proved us right.”

Dasauni said in BJP, speaking the truth is indiscipline. “If anyone tries to show the mirror to the leadership, he is shown the door. There is no democracy in the BJP but autocracy.”

Earlier, BJP lawmaker Puran Singh Fartyal raised the issue of corruption in the assembly. He was later served a notice and the matter was later said to have been resolved.

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