Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday alleged a "political conspiracy" as being the reason why he opted out of serving a consecutive second term in the post.
"I would like to thank all senior party leaders for their co-operation. As far as the second term goes, a national conspiracy was hatched and a matter was raised with which I had no direct connection," Gadkari told media here.
"When I realised it was a method to discredit the party I spoke with associates, and then, told the party to consider another candidate," he said.
"False allegations were made against me with issues that I had nothing to do with. Till I come clean, I won't contest for the party president's post," he added.
Gadkari had till Tuesday afternoon appeared certain to be renominated, but resigned from his post late at night.
Gadkari, who was billed for re-election as party chief, has been in the eye of a storm after the income tax department raided the offices of his Purti group of companies for financial irregularities and its fictitious investors firms.
Gadkari had earlier said that he did not want questions on his integrity to undermine the sanctity of the BJP's top post.
"I want to wait until the enquiry is complete. I decided that until I am proved innocent, I will not seek a second term. The party must look for a new leader, and I will support and cooperate with whoever is chosen by the party. I am convinced that I am not directly or indirectly involved in any act of corruption. When the enquiry is complete, I shall emerge with my image untarnished," he said.
The BJP has alleged that ruling Congress Party misused the income tax department to target opponents as it had done with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Gadkari also brushed aside any speculations of friction within the party, saying that he had the support of senior leaders as well as the party rank and file. (ANI)