New Delhi: Facing attack from outside and growing unease within, BJP chief Amit Shah on Sunday "reprimanded" several top party leaders who had made controversial comments on the Dadri lynching and beef row after Prime Minister Narendra Modi voiced "extreme displeasure" over their actions.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan, Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj and Uttar Pradesh MLA Sangeet Som, an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots, were "summoned" to Shah's office.
These leaders were apparently "reprimanded" and warned against making comments that "threaten to derail" the Modi government's "positive agenda", a senior party functionary said.
"Khattar, Balyan, Sakshi Maharaj and Som were summoned to Amit Shah's office and were reprimanded in person for their controversial utterances as because of these the positive agenda of the Modi government like employment generation, poverty reduction and development get somewhat derailed," he said, as per PTI.
The BJP functionary said "displeasure" was also telephonically conveyed to MoS for culture and tourism Mahesh Sharma.
"Besides, a message has been sought to be conveyed to the entire party hierarchy that leaders should desist from making statements that create unnecessary controversy. People prone to making controversial statements have also been conveyed the party's unhappiness," he said.
Speaking on cow slaughter in India, Sakshi Maharaj had recently pitched for a law that provides for death penalty for cow slaughter.
Going little further Khattar had said that Muslims can continue to live in this country, but they will have to give up eating beef.
Also, Mahesh Sharma had termed the Dadri lynching incident 'an unfortunate accident'
Besides them, Sangeet Som had also made some remarks over Dadri lynching incident which did not go down well with the secular fabric of the country.
Later, in an interview to a news channel, Shah had admitted that Som should not have visited the village.
Meanwhile, rejecting reports that the meeting was called over recent remarks of the leaders, Som told ANI that were called by the BJP president to discuss some party matters.
Backing Som's claim, Sakshi Maharaj told ANI, "Mujhse koi safaayi maangi hi nhi aur maine koi safaayi nahin di (Nobody asked for any clarification from me nor did I give any explanation."
On the other hand, Congress dismissed Shah's exercise as "mere gimmick" and "empty formality" after the "horse has bolted".
"What is the point of closing stable door after horse has bolted? For 18 months such divisive and provocative statements and actions have been recurring with monotonous regularity. So, after 18 months Amit Shah has found time to chastise MPs and ministers. It is obviously an empty formality. Modi has still not found time and continues to practice deafening silence. This has been a mere gimmick far from solving issues which amounts to admission of guilt," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.
(With PTI inputs)