Sushma Swaraj against any link for NDA to Manu Sharma’s father, Venod
New Delhi: Sushma Swaraj, a senior leader of the BJP, has tweeted her opposition to the possibility that controversial Haryana politician Venod Sharma may have found an entry point into the coalition led by her party.
“I am strongly opposed to this,” Ms Swaraj tweeted this morning, about reports that Mr Sharma, who quit the Congress on Wednesday after nearly four decades, will join the Haryana Janhit Congress, a regional party that is a member of the National Democratic Alliance, which is anchored by the BJP.
Mr Sharma, 66, who is from Haryana, has considerable clout in his home state, was seen as close to the chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and has served in the past as a union minister. But he was unhappy with being marginalized recently by his party, which did not include him in its candidates for the national election.
Mr Sharma’s son, Manu, is in jail in Delhi for shooting model Jessica Lall in 1999. It took seven years to land a conviction for Manu Sharma, despite the fact that Ms Lall had been murdered in public. The case was used to illustrate the immunity that those related to the rich and powerful seemed to enjoy. Mr Sharma is also involved in massive land deals in Haryana, some of which have been mired in allegations of impropriety. (Jessica murder: Supreme Court dismisses Manu’s plea against life term)
Mr Sharma is currently a member of the Haryana assembly. Unhappy with being ignored by the Congress, he reportedly met recently with BJP chief Rajnath Singh to discuss switching sides.
In the run-up to the national election, parties are trying to emphasize candidates with clean backgrounds. That agenda has been set largely by Arvind Kejriwal’s new Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which has positioned itself as an outfit committed to deracinating corruption from the polity. AAP, despite being just a year old, performed strongly enough in the December state election in Delhi to form the government. Mr Kejriwal quit as chief minister last month after 49 days in office.