BJP faces flak for reinstating tainted leader

Thursday, August 26, 2010

RAIPUR - Opposition Congress Thursday slammed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for reinstating Pradeep Gandhi, a former MP who was expelled from parliament after being caught on camera accepting bribe.

Gandhi, a close aide of Chief Minister Raman Singh and former Lok Sabha member from Rajnandgaon seat, was appointed as a special invitee in BJP’s state executive committee recently. He is one of the 11 MPs who were expelled in 2005 for accepting money for asking questions in the house.

BJP leaders confirmed his induction into the state executive committee but refused to comment on record.

“Gandhi is a loyal BJP leader. Even after getting caught in a sting operation titled ‘Operation Duryodhan’ in December 2005, Gandhi continued to work for party’s victory in 2008 assembly polls and 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The state BJP unit has rewarded his work after getting approval of the party’s central leadership,” said a BJP leader on condition of anonymity.

Gandhi was rehabilitated in a similar manner as an office-bearer in the state BJP unit in 2008 assembly polls. But the party had backtracked from its decision after media highlighted his induction into the party and opposition linked the issue to morality.

“Political parties should maintain morality. They should not reinstate a person who was sacked from the party and expelled by the Lok Sabha, but the BJP has been itching for quite some time to anyhow bring Gandhi back in the party. Congress will bring the issue to attention of public,” Ramesh Varlyani, the state Congress general secretary and spokesperson, told IANS.

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