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Pressure mounts on Gadkari to resign

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Party President Nitin Gadkari. File Photo.
Party President Nitin Gadkari. File Photo.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari is under pressure from a section of the party leadership to quit the post.

The corruption allegations against him by the India Against Corruption and his remark on Swami Vivekananda are being used his detractors within the party against him.

A day after party’s national executive member Mahesh Jethmalani resigned from the panel opposing Gadkari’s continuation, party’s MP Ram Jethmalani held a press conference here on Tuesday to reiterate his demand for the president’s resignation.

Jethmalani, who had started a “campaign” against Gadkari last month, claimed that senior leaders Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Shatrughan Sinha support him.

The Jethmalanis are close to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Ram Jethmalani had written to Gadkari recently urging him to announce Modi as the party’s prime ministerial candidate for the next general elections.

Apart from that, the patriarch of the party, L.K. Advani, has also made his position clear by abstaining from a crucial meeting of the core committee of the party on the matter. Gadkari also did not attend the core committee meeting.

Advani is apparently unhappy with the justifications provided by Gadkari countering the allegations.

Advani, sources in the party said, did not want Gadkari to convene the core group meeting before the completion of an in-house probe by RSS ideologue S. Gurumurthy on corruption charges against him. Gurumurthy was also talking to various BJP leaders to broker peace in the organisation.

Discussions on the possible successor for Gadkari are already on in the BJP.

The RSS is also in two minds about supporting Gadkari. Though the RSS supported Gadkari’s defence on the corruption allegations, they did not do so on his remarks on Swami Vivekananda. Gadkari, however, expressed regret over the remark.

“I would like to reiterate that I never compared Swami Vivekananda with anyone. I had absolutely no intention to project Swami Vivekananda in bad light,” Gadkari said in a statement.

jigeesh.am@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 6, 2012)
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