Gadkari issue divides BJP: Unhappy Advani skips crucial meet
The main opposition party BJP on Tuesday night appeared divided on party President Nitin gadkari as senior leader L K Advani skipped a crucial meeting of its Core Group in New Delhi apparently unhappy over his continuance in the post.
Advani chose not to go to the meeting in the party office on a day of hectic activities triggered by the demand for Gadkari's resignation by party MP Ram Jethmalani in the wake of allegations of dubious funding for his company Purti. Just before the Core Group meeting, senior leaders Sushma Swaraj, Ananth Kumar and Balbir Punj met Advani, apparently to persuade him not to push for Gadkari's exit.
Earlier, Swaraj tweeted to "reiterate" her support to Gadkari and deny media reports that she was not supporting him. TV channels reported that Gadkari too was not present at the core group meeting. Advani was reportedly unhappy at the meeting called at short notice when the internal investigation into charges against Gadkari was not over. The meeting was expected to back Gadkari which Advani felt was a hasty move.
The RSS has hinted that it was backing Gadkari for the moment though it disapproved of his remarks at a meeting comparing the IQ of Swami Vivekananda with Don Dawood Ibrahim.
The Core Group meeting topped a series of consultations among senior leaders, with Gadkari driving to the residences of Swaraj and Arun Jaitley to discuss the situation.
A day after his son Mahesh quit the BJP National Executive protesting against Gadkari's continuance, Jethmalani raised the pitch for the resignation of the party chief and claimed that some other senior leaders like Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha were with him on the issue.
RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy appeared to take the role of a mediator as he met Advani and later Jethmalani in a bid to persuade him to relent on the issue. Jethmalani said he would like to check the documents on the basis of which Gadkari is claiming innocence.
Meanwhile, two senior party leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Vinay Katiyar held a separate meeting and are understood to have shared the view that BJP's image had suffered because of allegations against Gadkari and something needed to be done immediately.
- Asian Tribune -