Nitin Gadkari, whose re-election as the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in January 2013 was almost certain till recently, might face fresh difficulties in his bid in the wake of corruption allegations against him.
If the allegations gain momentum and more documents come up against Gadkari, it is possible the BJP president might not get a second term, particularly as an anti-corruption mood is prevailing in the country, say senior party officials.
Though the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has backed Gadkari for a second term, a section of leaders within the organisation has started a discussion on whether people with business interests should get important posts in RSS and its affiliated organisations or not.
“There is no immediate threat to the plan of Nitin Gadkari getting a second term as the BJP chief, but if these allegations keep coming up and there is some concrete evidence against him, then it’s possible that this plan would get jeopardised,” a BJP leader, who declined to be named, said.
Most BJP leaders did not want Gadkari’s term extended and were of the view that a political heavyweight should be appointed at the top position. But the party amended its constitution at the RSS’ insistence, as the organisation wanted to keep the option of giving a second term to Gadkari open.
Right-to-Information activist Anjali Damania has accused the BJP president of of going soft on the Nationalist Congress Party by not taking a stand on the multi-crore irrigation scam in Maharashtra.
Gadkari has denied the charges and sought an apology from the activist. Gadkari further came under attack after it was alleged that BJP Parliamentarian Ajay Sancheti, a close associate of the party president, had benefited in the recent coal block allocation scam. Both Gadkari and Sancheti have denied the allegations.
During the recently-held national executive meeting of the party in Surajkund, senior BJP leader L K Advani had said party leaders should be above board on the issue of corruption.