NEW DELHI: BJP leaders Ananth Hegde, Pragya Singh Thakur, Nalin Kumar Kateel, Giriraj Singh, Sakshi Maharaj and Akash Vijayvargiya, apart from belonging to the same party, have one more thing in common—during the last couple of years, their conduct was or is being still “looked” into by the BJP disciplinary committee. All of them have been “accused” of giving provocative statements. Vijayvargiya, among this list, is the only one whose case was referred to the committee for putting words into action when he beat up a government official who was engaged in anti-encroachment drive in Indore last year.

However, as it stands as of now, the committee is “defunct”, as one member of the committee told The Sunday Guardian. This paper has also learnt that the committee is yet to receive any intimation to look into the conduct of Ananth Hegde whose recent statement criticising Mahatma Gandhi was “sent” to the disciplinary committee.

“No complaint has been forwarded to the committee. The process, in any matter related to party ‘discipline’, is that the state president or the national president, as the case maybe, refers the complaint to the committee after which the committee starts looking into it. As of today, we have received no intimation to look into Hegde’s matter,” said Satya Deo Singh, a member of the committee. Singh has been a MP from Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh constituency.

Apart from Singh, as per the BJP’s national website, the other member of the committee is party’s Lok Sabha MP from Guwahati,  Bijoya Chakravarty.

A senior party source said that the committee was virtually defunct now. “Post the appointment of Ganeshi Lal, who headed the committee, as governor of Odisha, in May 2018, the committee more or less exists only on the website. Satyadeo Singh is also a member of the Uttar Pradesh state disciplinary committee and hence he cannot be expected to look into every matter. More importantly, disciplinary matters are rarely being referred by the party to the committee these days. It is only in media bytes that party spokesperson say that the matter has been referred to the disciplinary committee,” a party leader said.

The party leader quoted above, a Rajya Sabha member, said that in case where the party leadership decides to take action, the party’s mandate is clear that the party leadership and its president can take action, including suspending the erring member from the party, without sending the matter to the disciplinary panel. The leader referred to the 2004 incident of Uma Bharti who was removed from the party’s primary membership within a month of her “indiscipline”. “She spoke out against the party leadership on 10 November and on 5 December, she was removed from the party. It did not take the leadership of Advaniji and Atalji even one month to decide the future of someone as ‘big’ and popular as Uma Bharti. It is all about intent,” he said. Former IAS officer Om Pathak, who is the member secretary of the party’s disciplinary panel and was appointed in the said post in June 2019, said that he had “nothing to share” at the present on the issue of Ananth Kumar Hegde. “I have nothing to share. That is in the domain of the party spokesperson,” Pathak said. The other party member who has been given a place in the panel is BJP national vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna.