New Delhi: Pressure intensified on Nitin Gadkari to step down Tuesday as party MP Ram Jethmalani said BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Shatrughan Sinha were with him in seeking the party chief's ouster over controversies linked to him.
Gadkari, who is facing allegations of financial wrongdoing by a company linked to him, kicked off another row Sunday with his remark comparing the IQ level of Swami Vivekananda and fugitive Mumbai don Dawood Ibrahim.
Jethmalani, who wrote to party veteran L.K. Advani seeking Gadkari's immediate ouster, said his "presidentship" of the party was a disaster for the BJP and the nation.
Jethmalani said Gadkari should be asked to resign forthwith and if the party waits till the winter session of parliament begins, it will be betrayal of the nation.
The letter, posted on TV news channel NDTV's website, said: "I am sorry to have to write this to you. I am doing it according to a firm conclusion arrived at by Jaswant, Yashwant and Shatrughan and myself. We are of the opinion that the continued presidentship of the party by Shri Gadkari is a disaster for the nation and the BJP. The damage already caused is immense but may be mitigated with great effort. He may be asked to resign forthwith. If we wait till the parliament is summoned, we will have betrayed the nation. History will not forgive us."
Referring to Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy's allegations against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Jethmalani said the disclosers came from others and people were suspecting that main leaders of the party were "in limited collusion with the corrupt rulers".
Jethmalani said in the letter that he, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha had met "to consider whether they should bid goodbye to the party".
Talking to mediapersons, Jethmalani said: "We four are of the clear view that the resignation of Gadkari is necessary."
"I hope they (the other three leaders) will also take the same step. We are unanimous in our views and I have no doubt about it. They have not expressed them publicly and I hope they will express them soon," he said.
Jethmalani earlier said Gadkari should not seek a second term.
"I thought I would resign from the party, but I believe that if in the present circumstances I resign, it will be betrayal of the whole nation. The nation needs an opposition party," the senior lawyer said.
Charges against Gadkari include land grabbing and improper business dealings of the Purti Group he heads.
"On the one side you have Mr. Gadkari who brackets Swami Vivekananda with Dawood. On the other side, our future prime minister who is about to be dumped on this country does not know the difference between Kargil and FDI. So, I have to make up my mind about who is worth it," Jethmalani said.
At the Sunday rally here, Rahul Gandhi said that just as the Congress had backed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government during the Kargil war in 1998, the BJP should back the present UPA government on the FDI.
Jethmalani said he fully backed his son Mahesh Jethmalani, who resigned from the BJP's national executive Monday, demanding Gadkari's resignation.
"I fully approve of the action of my son after this Vivekananda episode. I think we don't need to be associated with the party which he (Gadkari) is leading," Jethmalani said.
"Moreover, the philosophy of resigning corresponds to the life of public servants who are government servants. If an inquiry is on against a public servant, usually he is suspended; and if cleared, he comes back with renewed honour. That is exactly how Gadkari should behave," he said.