M A I N   N E W S

BJP core group rallies behind Gadkari, Advani skips meet
Jethmalani says party president should step down
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 6
The BJP core group today absolved party’s beleaguered president Nitin Gadkari of any legal or moral wrongdoing in the wake of reports that his companies received “dubious” funding.

Earlier during the day, senior leader Ram Jethmalani demanded that Gadkari should step down in the face of these charges. He announced that Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha were with him on the issue.

Veteran leader LK Advani did not attend the core group meeting, thus leading to speculations about his disagreement with the collective stand taken by the core group.

Party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the documents pertaining to the Purti group of companies of Gadkari were examined by S Gurumurthy. The things were explained to Advani as well. The party said Gadkari had no links with the 18 companies that invested in Purti. Gurumurthy, an emissary of Gadkari, also met Jethmalani separately. The party also asked its leaders not to air views in public, clearly aiming to check further damage to the image of the party.

Today’s accusation by Ram Jethmalani came after his son Mahesh resigned from the party’s national executive in protest against Gadkari’s continuation.

Party core group’s support for Gadkari has not come as any surprise considering the fact that the RSS handpicked him in 2009 to head the party and that now it favours an extension of his tenure beyond December.

It remains to be seen whether this support is a temporary truce since Ram Jethmalani is considered close to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who nurses an ambition to be a prime ministerial candidate for the next Lok Sabha elections, while leaders who support Gadkari have their own calculations. Ahead of the meeting, Sushma Swaraj expressed her support to the BJP chief.

Gadkari regrets remark

In an attempt to cut losses following his controversial remarks, Gadkari said, “I had absolutely no intention to project Swami Vivekananda is bad light. If my words about Swami Vivekananda have hurt the public sentiments in any manner, I express my sincere regrets.” 

I am in touch with Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha. We seem to be on the same wave length. I don't presume to predict how they will (act later)... We are clearly of the opinion that resignation of the party president is imminently called for.
— Ram Jethmalani





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