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PM Modi’s rebuke goes in vain as BJP fails to act against bat-wielding MLA Akash Vijayvargiya

FE Online

Nearly three weeks after Prime minister Narendra Modi ‘condemned’ Akash Vijayvargiya for beating a civic official, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader from Madhya Pradesh said that the case has not yet been referred to the party’s disciplinary committee. Indore MLA Vijayvargiya, who is the son of BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, was caught on camera assaulting a municipal corporation officer with a cricket bat on June 26. Days later, at a BJP parliamentary meeting, Modi had said that, "Arrogance and misbehaviour will not be tolerated irrespective of whoever it may be, whoever's son he may be." Even though the PM did not name Akash, the remarks were considered as a rebuke aimed at him.

BJP’s Madhya Pradesh state disciplinary committee convener Babusingh Raghuvanshi told the Indian Express that he wasn’t sure that Modi’s remarks were directed towards Akash and Kailash Vijayvargiya. "Did he (the PM) name Akash? There were some other instances (of indiscipline), maybe he referred to all of them together," the report quoted Raghuvanshi as saying.

Raghuvanshi, who is also a lawyer, said that Akash’s punishment was different as he had been provoked. If the PM has actually condemned it (the incident), it's more than a punishment.

On June 26, Akash Vijayvargiya beat up a civic official who was carrying out a demolition drive in Indore’s Ganji area. He was sent to judicial custody, but was later released on bail. Akash was given a hero’s welcome by his followers on his release from jail. Though he remained unapologetic over the act, Akash had said that he would try to follow Mahatma Gandhi's path of non-violence while raising public issues in future.

Akash is currently attending the Madhya Pradesh assembly session. The report quoted senior BJP leaders as saying that the party’s inaction in this case was an embarassing sign. Last week, the party had suspended Uttarakhand lawmaker Pranav Singh for 6 years after a video of him brandishing guns while dancing went viral.