Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national executive member Jagdish Shettigar mounted pressure on party president Nitin Gadkari and said asked him to step down from his position in the wake of corruption charges levelled against him.
"Gadkari is also a swayamsewak (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh worker) whose principle is to protect the interest of the country first and then protect the interest of the organisation. I am sure being a swayamsewak as per the conscience he will take the best step in the overall interest of the country and the organisation," Shettigar was quoted as saying.
He said Gadkari should step down till the ´process of investigation´ is completed.
BJP leader Ram Jethmalani on Tuesday revolted openly against the party leadership and said Gadkari should step down as the president of the outfit till a probe into the corruption charges against him cleared him.
However, the BJP at a core group meeting on the same day reinforced its support to Gadkari.
Ram Jethmalani´s son Mahesh Jethmalani on Nov 5 resigned and addressed a letter directly to Gadkari and where he said it was morally and intellectually not possible for him to carry on in the BJP national executive committee as long as he continued as the party president.
Gadkari has been accused of using shell companies to fund his business and of receiving investments from contractors in Maharashtra.
However he has refuted the charges of using shell companies to fund his business and of receiving investments from contractors in Maharashtra.
Political opponents of the BJP chief had alleged that Gadkari´s Purti group of companies accepted loans and investments from DP Mhaiskar, the founder of the Ideal Road Builders, which are quid pro quo.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh has alleged that Rajya Sabha MP of BJP Ajay Sancheti was given coal block in single bidding due to his closeness with Gadkari, a charge the latter denied and backed up by filing a defamation suit against Singh.
Earlier social activists turned politician Arvind Kejriwal accused Gadkari of having ties with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra to boost his business interests in Vidarbha region at the cost of poor farmers who are committing suicide.
Gadkari opposing the charges said, this is an effort to politically malign him.
He said that his efforts were focused on helping farmers in Vidarbha.