Dalit BJP leaders flay Shanta Kumar’s demand for Bangaru’s resignation
(By Sharad Gupta)
New Delhi, March 29 : Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister Shanta Kumar, by demanding former BJP chief Bangaru Laxman’s resignation from Rajya Sabha, has earned the wrath of Dalit leaders within the party.
Undeterred by such demands, Bangaru today defended his aides saying none of them had committed any wrong save for his PA, Satyamurthy who was caught by Tehelka’s spy camera as approaching Tehelka team in a five star hotel for remaining share of his booty.
BJP Dalit leaders meanwhile called on party president Jana Krishnamurthy demanding disciplinary action against Kumar for his recent remarks against Laxman. The delegation included BJP’s SC/ST Morcha president Ramnath Kovind, Anita Arya and Ashok Pradhan (all MPs) besides others.
Kumar’s demand was contrary to the stand taken by the party top brass that Bangaru was innocent since he had taken money for the party and deposited it in party’s fund. Such demands would send a wrong message to the party cadre specially its dalit supporters, the leaders said.
Incidentally, Bangaru himself had initially claimed that he being a Dalit, had become a victim of Congress conspiracy which could not stand his growing popularity among Dalits.
Earlier, Bangaru said he was not aware of Satyamurthy’s past and he had not been appointed on a regular basis. “He was working for a pharmaceutical company and approached me for a job. I told him to assist me in my work”, Laxman told “The Indian Express” today.
But, a day after Tehelka broke out, Satyamurthy in a letter written to Bangaru, confessed having received the money from website'’ sting reporters. "He said he had committed a mistake and was resigning”, Bangaru said adding he was not aware of Satyamurthy’s present whereabouts.
He, however, defended his other two aides U. Raju who too had been named by Tehelka of having received gifts from them and media advisor R.K. Sinha. “Raju has never met Tehelka reports, a fact corroborated by Satyamurthy too in his letter. I don’t know which Raju they are talking about. As for Sinha, he never had anything to do with defence deals. He has been vice president of BJP in Bihar and is still assisting me in my job”, said Bangaru.
Asked whether he now felt that employing a non-BJP person as his PA was a mistake, Bangaru said he had not employed Satyamurthy as his PA.
The former BJP chief rues that there was no permanent secretary for the BJP chief and all new incumbents had to emoploy their own men for the job. "BJP president's’secretaries normally move along with him", he said.