New Delhi: BJP on Friday sought to distance itself from the conviction of its former President Bangaru Laxman in a bribery case, terming it an issue involving his personal conduct but accepted that he is still a member of the party`s national executive.
"This case is about his (Laxman) personal conduct. The charges levelled against him were about the deed done by him as an individual. Within hours of the issue coming to light, BJP had taken a decision and he was no longer the party president. We did not take days to decide," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
In a major embarrassment to the main opposition, Laxman was today found guilty of accepting a bribe of Rs 1 Lakh in a sting operation.
It has come at a time when BJP is running a consistent anti-corruption campaign against the Congress-led UPA dispensation. Party leaders accepted privately that Laxman`s conviction shows the party in a poor light.
However, the party defended itself in the matter.
"We respect the court verdict. But the court judgement is on his personal conduct. BJP is not a party in the case and so it is wrong to allege that the party has been indicted," Hussain said.
Though Laxman was removed from the post of president, he continues to be a special invitee to BJP National Executive as a former party chief. After taking over as president, Nitin Gadkari had tried to bestow some new responsibilities on Laxman and give him a more prominent role.
"He is a member of the party.... There are no differences within the party on the verdict. We did not try to cover up the case when the incident had occurred," Hussain said.