BJP MP Varun Gandhi and his mother Maneka Gandhi do not figure in the national executive committee of the party, the list of which was announced on Thursday.
Reports attribute this omission to Gandhi’s recent tweets which have been critical of the BJP’s Yogi Adityanath government in UP over the killings of protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri a few days back.
At least eight people, including four farmers, were killed when SUVs in a minister’s convoy ran over protesting farmers and clashes broke out on October 3. Junior Home Minister’s Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra was accused of having driven one vehicle, a charge he and his father denied. Ashish has been named as an accused in the case but has not been arrested.
Varun Gandhi, who has been vocal of the protesting farmers’ cause, demanded stern action from Chief Minister Adityanath through a letter which he posted on Twitter.
Later, he also posted a video of the vehicles running over the farmers, and said: “The video is crystal clear. Protestors cannot be silenced through murder. There has to be accountability for the innocent blood of farmers that has been spilled and justice must be delivered before a message of arrogance and cruelty enters the minds of every farmer.”
The video is crystal clear. Protestors cannot be silenced through murder. There has to be accountability for the innocent blood of farmers that has been spilled and justice must be delivered before a message of arrogance and cruelty enters the minds of every farmer. 🙏🏻🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/Z6NLCfuujK
— Varun Gandhi (@varungandhi80) October 7, 2021
Varun Gandhi, who is the cousin of Congress leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, is seen to have broken ranks in the BJP as there is reportedly some disquiet among a section of party leaders over the incident.
The BJP national executive committee comprises leaders such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, veteran leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, among others.
The committee will have 80 regular members, 50 special invitees and 179 permanent invitees. An Indian Express report said that there are 12 regular members and 6 special invitees from UP, some of whom are ministers, and “this leaves less space for the ordinary members of the ruling party to become part of the deliberative mechanism of the BJP”.
The BJP leadership also dropped former union minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, who too has been vocal of the farmers’ cause. Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy too got the boot.
Notably, recently inducted Union Ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia and Ashwini Vaishnaw are part of the top panel.