Friday, September 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Expelled Mayor meets party chief
Seeks time to prove innocence
From Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Sept 21 — In a surprise move, Mr Subash Sharma, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, who was expelled from the BJP for six years following charges of “more turpitude” today held a meeting with state party President Brij Lal Rinwa at Chandigarh today.

During an hour long meeting, Mr Sharma assured the party chief that he wanted to serve the party “throughout his life.”

“I am a sepoy of the BJP and will obey all directives of the high command”, he told Mr Rinwa. Both Mr Sharma and Mr Rinwa confirmed the meeting.

Asked whether he would resign as Mayor if the party so desired, Mr Sharma replied: “I have served the party all my life, and cannot afford to join any other party at the fag end”.

Talking to TNS, Mr Sharma claimed he had not yet received written orders of the party high command to the effect that he had been expelled from the party for six years. He said he would take no time in tendering his resignation after receiving written directives of the high command in the connection.

When contacted on the telephone, Mr Rinwa said Mr Sharma had asked for some time to prove his “innocence”. He hinted that his case could be reviewed in case he furnished concrete proof in this regard.

Mr Rinwa, however, said Mr Sharma had admitted that he (Mr Sharma) had taken time to obey the directives of the party high command for stepping down as Mayor.

Sources said it would be a blunder on the part of the party high command to review the expulsion of Mr Sharma from the party at this juncture as the local unit had served a notice for moving a no confidence motion against the Mayor.

Interestingly, the local BJP unit changed stand on the issue many times, thereby causing harm to the reputation of the party. Mr Om Parkash Kalia, district president of the BJP gave a “clean chit” to Mr Sharma when he was expelled from the party.

However, the following day in a volte-face, he alleged that he was misquoted by the press. Now when the local BJP has already served a notice on the Mayor for a no-confidence motion against him, attempts of reviewing his expulsion may boomerang.

The Punjab Istri Sabha has announced that it will organise a protest to force Mr Subash Sharma to resign as Mayor from Sept 24.

The District Congress Committee and the Communist Party of India have announced that they will support the motion against Mr Sharma.

Almost all counsellors, including local BJP MLA Laxmi Kanta Chawla, have put signatures for seeking a no-confidence motion against Mr Sharma. Municipal counsellors belonging to the ruling SAD have also turned against Mr Sharma following the directive of the party high command after his expulsion. The SAD high command has made it clear that it will support any decision of the BJP on the issue.

Meanwhile, senior CPI leader Ripudaman Singh has expressed concern at the “studied silence” of BJP ministers over the episode.

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