Gadkari out, Rajnath Singh back as BJP president

Gadkari opted out of the election saying he did not want that allegations against him should in any way adversely affect the interests of BJP

PTI | January 23, 2013


BJP leader Rajnath Singh
BJP leader Rajnath Singh

In a sudden and dramatic last-minute twist, Nitin Gadkari, facing allegations of dubious funding of his company, was forced out of the race for BJP President's post and Rajnath Singh appeared to have emerged the consensus candidate.

In a late-night development, Gadkari issued a statement opting out of the election scheduled on Wednesday, saying he did not want that allegations against him should in any way adversely affect the interests of BJP.

"I have, therefore, decided not to seek a second term as the President of BJP," he said.

Gadkari, whose candidature was being strongly pushed by RSS despite reservations within the party, was all set for re-election before senior leader Yashwant Sinha decided this evening to throw his hat in tomorrow's polls.

The move by Sinha, who had earlier demanded Gadkari's resignation in the wake of allegations of impropriety by his firm Purti Group, forced top BJP leaders including Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu and RSS representative Ram Lal into a huddle to deliberate on the evolving situation.

After the meeting, Rajnath Singh's name emerged as the consenses alternative, sources said.

62-year-old Rajnath, who had served as BJP president till 2009 before Gadkari, is also considered close to RSS and that appeared to have tilted the balance in his favour.

Sources said Gadkari is expected to propose Rajnath Singh's name for the top party post.

However, in his statement, Gadkari claimed that he had committed no wrong or any impropriety either directly or indirectly.

"Yet the UPA government has been making an effort to spread disinformation about me in order to hurt me and my party. I have always said that I am willing for any independent inquiry.

"I shall fight these efforts of the government, both politically and legally," he said in a statement on a day the IT department surveyed 11 locations of shell companies which had allegedly invested money in his Purti Group.

Ever since social activist Arvind Kejriwal and others came out with allegations about his links with irrigation scam and later the financial wrongdoings by his Purti Group, Gadkari came under attack from senior party MPs like Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha, Ram Jethmalani and his son Mahesh Jethmalani.

Ram Jethmalani, in fact, triggered the demand for Gadkari's resignation when he shot off a letter to him and was later joined by two Sinhas. Another senior leader Jaswant Singh is also said to have backed these leaders.

The final nail in Gadkari's coffin came when senior leader L K Advani made it clear to RSS top brass that it would be untenable for him to continue in the post at a time when BJP is leading a campaign against the Congress-led UPA over corruption issue.

In fact, the chill between the two was quite evident this evening when Advani and Gadkari were seated side by side at a party programme in Uttan near Mumbai but did not exchange a word.

Yashwant Sinha created a flutter when he procured a nomination form and voters' list from Chief Electoral Officer, Thawar Chand Gehlot.

Mahesh Jethmalani, who yesterday threatened to contest against Gadkari, today claimed that he was denied a nomination form to prevent him.

A candidate for the BJP Presidential poll should have been an active member of the party for 12 consecutive years and an ordinary member for 15 years. He would also need atleast 20 proposers each from five different state units, which adds upto 100.

Gadkari said the allegations against him were aimed at "maligning" the image of his party.

"I will continue to serve the party as a committed worker. I don't want allegations against me to affect the party adversely," he told reporters at Mumbai airport before leaving for Delhi.

"There are allegations against me and I want to come clean. I will tackle these charges both politically and legally. The decision to opt out (of BJP President's race) is entirely my own," Gadkari maintained.

"I am ready to face any inquiry. I have informed my party that I won't take any post till I am proved innocent. I will extend my full cooperation to whosoever becomes the next BJP President."

Maharashtra BJP President Sudhir Mungantiwar, who accompanied his outgoing chief, said Gadkari was quitting because the allegations were aimed at "defaming" the party.

He described reports about senior BJP leader L K Advani's opposition to Gadkari's candidature as "rumours".

Meanwhile, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, who enjoys cordial relations with Gadkari, described him as an "honest person".

"Gadkari is an honest person. But the fact is that Delhi leaders are allergic to Marathi people," he said.

Comments

 

Other News

Finance ministry ropes in NBCC to build houses for officers

Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) and National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd (NBCC) have signed an agreement for the construction of housing project for Indian Economic Service (IES) officers. For this, the urban development ministry has allotted 3,519 square metre of land on Dee

Aviation minister lays foundation of integrated office of aviation agencies

The foundation stone for the integrated office complex of director general of civil aviation (DGCA), bureau of civil aviation security (BCAS), airports economic regulatory authority of India (AERA), aircraft accident investigation bureau (AAIB) and airports authority of India (AAI) was laid by civil aviati

Civil society pays tribute to veteran journalist Neelabh Mishra

Civil society has paid rich tributes to Neelabh Mishra, veteran journalist and human rights activist, who died in Chennai Saturday after a prolonged battle with liver failure. The National Alliance of People`s Movements (NAPM) said it was deeply saddened to know of the untimely demise of its

All you need to know about the H-1B visa rules

It seems the process of procuring H-1B visas may get more difficult for the Indian IT companies with the new policy announcement by the US president Donald Trump. The new policy may hit the third party supplier base of the Indian IT firms in the US, the biggest users of H-1B visas. Moreover, now the H-1B m

Book Review: Letters to a Young Poet

Most of us would recall how sorely we needed a guide, a mentor, when we were in our twenties and starting out in a career, or in the deeper study of a branch of k

Can we handle our e-waste?

India is the fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world and has discarded approximately 18 lakh metric tonnes of e-waste in 2016, which is 12 percent of the global e-waste, according to a United Nations University study, ‘The Global E-Waste Monitor 2017’. In fact by 2020, India’s e-wa

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter