New Delhi: BJP lawmaker and former cricketer Kirti Azad has been suspended by the party for publicly targeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with allegations of corruption in Delhi’s cricket body DDCA.
The parliamentarian defied his party as he made corruption allegations linked to the DDCA or Delhi and District Cricket Association that Mr Jaitley headed for 13 years till 2013. After holding a press conference on Sunday, he followed it up with an open dare on social media and barbs in Parliament.
Mr Jaitley has dragged leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, to court over their allegations against him of corruption, but he has not moved against his party colleague Mr Azad yet.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended Mr Jaitley at a weekly meeting of BJP lawmakers.
Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told NDTV that PM Modi said Mr Jaitley would come out “with flying colours” in the cricket controversy much like BJP veteran LK Advani had emerged unscathed from Hawala charges in the 1990s.
“No one has any doubt about his honesty and integrity. The allegations against him are baseless,” PM Modi said.
Mr Azad was not present in the meeting though he did attend Parliament.
On Monday, BJP chief Amit Shah also broke his silence, defending Mr Jaitley and accusing the AAP government in Delhi of running a malicious campaign against the minister.
Mr Shah did not comment on Mr Azad. The leadership’s silence till Monday evening had raised eyebrows, especially after Mr Azad defiantly held a press conference on Sunday despite being warned by Mr Shah against it.