The BJP has suspended from party its leader Ram Jethmalani, who had earlier demanded party chief Nitin Gadkari's removal and also spoken against the party's line on the appointment of the new CBI chief, sources said Sunday.
"The party chief has suspended Ram Jethmalani with immediate effect. The process of his suspension has been referred to the party's parliamentary board," BJP spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters.
Hours before the announcement, a belligerent Jethmalani, a Rajya Sabha member, said that no one had the guts to suspend him.
"If action is taken against me, I would welcome it. But I don't think anyone has the guts to suspend me," Jethmalani told reporters.
Party sources said rule 25 of the BJP's constitution empowered the party president to suspend from the organisation any member with immediate effect.
But since Jethmalani is an MP the matter has been referred to the BJP's parliamentary board which is expected to meet Monday evening, said the sources.
Jethmalani had ruffled many feathers in the party by demanding the removal of Gadkari from the post of party chief after corruption allegations surfaced against him and his company Purti Group two months ago.
The MP embarrassed the BJP Saturday by contradicting its stand on the issue of appointment of Ranjit Sinha as the new CBI director.
Leaders of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley had Nov 23 written a joint letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying the decision on appointing Sinha as the next CBI chief should be kept on hold till the collegium system became a law, as recommended by the Rajya Sabha select committee on Lokpal.
The prime minister had rejected their plea and justified the appointment.