RSS saves the day for Gadkari

BJP core group supports beleaguered party chief

RSS saves the day for Gadkari

After a day-long drama, the BJP on Tuesday night formally came out in support of their president Nitin Gadkari, accused of resorting to corrupt business practices, reportedly after the RSS forced the party to back him.

After the two-hour meeting of the core group, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The party has full faith in his leadership.” Prasad was merely reading out the statement by leaders of Opposition in both Houses of Parliament, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely.

Party patriarch L K Advani, who was not present at the meeting, is believed to have expressed his caveat on carefully wording the party statement supporting Gadkari, indicating that it should not be too sweeping to sanction a second term for him. Gadkari’s present term ends on December 19 and the party has already made amendments in their constitution to facilitate his extension in office.

A gag order has also been issued to leaders, asking them not to issue statements in public about the Gadkari controversy.

Sangh ideologue S Gurumurthy played a pivotal role in the save-Gadkari campaign. On the directions of the RSS, it is learnt that Gurumurthy went through the documents related to Gadkari’s companies and concluded that charges are not serious enough warranting his resignation.

He met Jaitely, Sushma and some senior disgruntled party leaders to assert that Gadkari was not guilty as was being projected in the media. Advani was also shown the presentation and so were the attendees at the core group meeting.

Crisis had deepened in the party after top lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani resigned from the BJP national executive committee to protest Gadkari’s continuance in office.

Mahesh’s father and Rajya Sabha MP Ram Jethmalani had a press conference seeking Gadkari’s resignation. He claimed that he and his son had the backing of three other senior leaders, Jaswant Singh, Shatrughan Sinha and Yashwant Sinha.

Gadkari went knocking on doors to save his job. He first met Sushma Swaraj and later Jaitely early in the day to seek their support after Gurumurthy’s report exonerated him. Later, Sushma, Ananth Kumar and Dharmendra Pradhan met at Advani’s residence in the evening to chalk out the contours of the core group meeting.

RSS, BJP leaders talk

Top RSS leaders are also said to have called up Bharatiya Janata Party leaders to fall in line.

Jethmalani accepted that Gurumurthy also met him. “I told him (Gurumurthy) that it may be necessary for me to ask Gadkari a few questions. He says don't worry about it. If you want to ask questions, Gadkari will answer them," Jethmalani told reporters.

"Gurumurthy tried to convince me. He has seen the documents...But I have not seen the documents, I am not prepared to accept any conclusion. I have told him to give me all the documents along with a note by Wednesday which I will study myself," the noted lawyer said.

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