Troubled by the ongoing corruption allegations against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Nitin Gadkari, senior leaders of the main Opposition party are mulling whether to allow a second three-year term for the party chief.
Senior leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have been meeting L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, to understand the mood within the party leaders and to try and convince them to support a second term for Gadkari without any hindrance of BJP’s brass.
Gadkari is expected to finish his first three-year term in December and another three-year extension will start from January 2013. Senior leaders of the RSS had met L K Advani on Saturday. BJP leaders said that apart from convincing the party top leaders on Gadkari’s second term, RSS leaders also discussed the allegations leveled by social activist Arvind Kejriwal against Gadkari and how these should be countered.
|THE BIG QUESTION|
Kejriwal and his anti-corruption team of India Against Corruption (IAC) have accused Gadkari of grabbing 100 acres of farmers’ land in Maharashtra with the help of former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The allegations were refuted by the BJP president, who argued that he was ready to face any investigation.
Although some of the senior party leaders are not in favour of a second term for Gadkari and want a more politically active person to take charge of the party before the crucial Lok Sabha elections, BJP leaders have described the allegations made by Kejriwal as frivolous.
Interestingly, Advani and Sushma Swaraj had skipped the meeting of national executive in Mumbai to express their resentment on Gadkari’s second term, but the party’s constitution was formally amended at the Surajkund national executive meeting in September to ensure that Gadkari get a second three-year term at the top post.
The BJP president has also been accused of awarding contract to Ideal Road Builders Pvt Limited as PWD minister, and the company in 2001 made an investment of Rs 1.85 crore in equity shares of Pulti Sakhar Karkhana Ltd, which was later renamed to Purti Power & Sugar Ltd in 2009. Ideal Road Builders Pvt Ltd became a subsidiary of IRB Infrastructure in 2006-07.
The company has categorically said, “It is pertinent to note that Nitin Gadkari was not the PWD minister at the time when this investment was made.” The company has also clarified that Ideal Road Builders Pvt Ltd was not a subsidiary of IRB Infrastructure at the time of making the investments in Nitin Gadkari’s Purti Group in 2001.