New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reportedly told BJP lawmakers that controversial statements made by some of them are hurting the party and government's image and that no one must cross the line or the "Lakshman Rekha."
PM Modi talked tough at the BJP's parliamentary party meeting held every Tuesday when Parliament is in session, also emphasising that development work undertaken by the party's lawmakers must be "visible and not just on paper."
The PM is reportedly displeased at comments like the one made by party MP Sakshi Maharaj, who had last week described Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a "patriot". A united opposition attacked the government and sources said Sakshi Maharaj was upbraided at a meeting of top BJP leaders, after which he had apologized in Parliament.
Sources said then that the ruling party feels comments like these are "derailing the development agenda" of the government it leads and is uniting the opposition against it.
A united opposition has also cornered the government in Parliament over religious conversions in Uttar Pradesh, stalling important legislation. BJP MPs like Yogi Adityanath have continued to make public statements backing religious conversions and even announcing more conversion programmes.
At a Tuesday meeting two weeks ago, the Prime Minister had urged party lawmakers "not to address the nation" out of turn. "I will not compromise on this," he had warned, soon after union minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti had used an expletive at a campaign rally in Delhi, making the BJP vulnerable to another massive attack by the opposition.
At that meeting, the Prime Minister had also instructed the party's MPs from both houses to reach on time for the parliamentary party meeting. But 26 of them reached today after the PM, who arrives promptly with 10 minutes to spare.
Among those who sauntered in late were ministers like Nitin Gadkari, Santosh Gangwar, Rao Indrajeet Singh and Mahesh Sharma.