The BJP issued show-cause notices to two of its Uttar Pradesh MLAs -- Suresh Tiwari, who allegedly asked people not to buy vegetables from Muslim vendors, and Shyam Prakash for levelling corruption charges against Hardoi health authorities in the purchase of medical equipment.
The conduct of both the MLAs is against the party's policy, BJP's Uttar Pradesh media in-charge Manish Dixit said in a statement, adding that they have been asked to give their replies within a week.
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Party sources said its central leadership found Tiwari's remarks "highly irresponsible", and its national president J P Nadda "pulled up" the state brass for not taking quick action.
Expressing his displeasure over the comments, Nadda stated that the BJP will not "tolerate" such remarks and said party leaders should not make statements like this.
Also read: Coronavirus lockdown | Why make a big deal of it: UP BJP MLA on call to boycott Muslim vendors
The sources said Nadda admonished Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and asked him to take action against Tiwari.
Both Tiwari and Prakash are from Hardoi district and have left the party red-faced with their statements.
Tiwari, who represents Barhaj constituency in Deoria district in the state assembly, was seen in a video clip purportedly telling people: "I am saying this openly: don't purchase vegetables from Muslims (Ek cheez dhayan mein rakhiyega, main bol raha hoon openly, koi bhi miyan ke hathon sabzi nahi lega)."
When asked about his remark, Tewari said, "On April 17th or 18th, I was distributing masks and sanitizers among the people. When I reached the boundary of the nagar palika, around 17-18 people came to me and started complaining against Tablighi Jamaat members creating chaos and spreading coronavirus and also contaminating vegetables with their saliva."
"I told them not to fight with them or take law into their own hands, but simply to stop purchasing from them," he said.
"There are many Muslim vendors in Barhaj too and I only advised people not to purchase from them to be saved from the deadly virus," the MLA added.
On Monday, Gopamau MLA Shyam Prakash had alleged corruption in the purchase of medical equipment.
In a letter dated April 25 to the Hardoi chief development officer, he had sought details about Rs 24.99 lakh given from his MLA fund on April 16.
Alleging corruption, he said the amount be "immediately returned" so that the money could be used for other works in public interest.
Reacting to the allegations, District Magistrate Pulkit Khare said, "The chief development officer has been directed to initiate a departmental action against the chief medical officer while orders have been issued to suspend pharmacist JN Tiwari."
A section of right wing elements has targeted Muslims over the spread of the coronavirus, alleging that some members of the community have deliberately abetted the rise in infections.
The BJP-led governments at the Centre and in the state have sought to dispel the impression that Muslims are being targeted by a section of people in the fight against the pandemic.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently asked people to fight the pandemic unitedly, calling for brotherhood and harmony.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.