New Delhi: It seems the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is at war with itself. The principal opposition party’s internal troubles resurfaced when senior party leader Ram Jethmalani embarrassed its party yet again by saying that government`s decision over appointment of new CBI chief has "averted national calamity".
If Jethmalani’s salvo was not enough, BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha joined those who have asked Nitin Gadkari to step down as party chief.
BJP, which calls itself a party with a difference, seems increasingly like a banner divided by different camps, with every other leader’s individual ambitions ruining the common core.
The saffron party might be trying to tone down the “differences”, but dissidence and internal bickering is out in the open and the common man is beginning to become wary of the principal opposition party.
BJP has indicated that it may take disciplinary action against Jethmalani who has demanded Gadkari`s resignation and has disagreed with the party`s stand over the appointment of new CBI director.
"Jethmalani has been making statements against the BJP president and has now spoken against the two Leaders of the Opposition. We completely deny his charges against them. The party has taken serious note of his statements and strong action will be taken at the appropriate time," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
In a letter to Nitin Gadkari on Saturday, Jethmalani had criticised the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley for writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against the appointment of Ranjit Sinha as the next CBI Chief.
"....I was astonished to read that the BJP has attacked the Prime Minister and the Congress party for what the party calls the fast tracked appointment of Ranjit Sinha as the director of the CBI," the veteran parliamentarian said in a letter addressed to Gadkari, copies of which were marked to the Prime Minister and the media.
"I regret that this criticism is a result of complete ignorance of relevant facts and has been instigated by a most undesirable rival who had to withdraw his petition before the CAT yesterday as a result of the appointment," Jethmalani said.
Swaraj and Jaitley maintained that Sinha`s appointment has been made despite a unanimous recommendation by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Lokpal that the CBI Director should be appointed by a collegium.
The BJP view was conveyed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a joint letter by Leader of Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.
The Prime Minister rejected the BJP`s demand to keep the new CBI chief`s appointment in abeyance and follow the method of selection through collegium after the Lokpal Bill was passed.
The observers also said Jethmalani`s letter could intensify factional feud in the BJP as Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is seen as another prime ministerial candidate.
More trouble came for the BJP during the day from MP Shatrughan Sinha, who said in Patna that issues raised by Jethmalani and Yashwant Sinha should be looked at seriously.
On Gadkari, the actor-turned-BJP leader said "he is a friend but a person occupying a responsible post should not only be honest but should also be seen as honest."
The campaign for the resignation of beleaguered Gadkari had recently got fresh ammunition with Yashwant Sinha demanding his resignation.
Earlier, Jethmalani and his son Mahesh had made the demand in the wake of reports of alleged dubious financing of Purti Sugar and Power Group, which was promoted by Gadkari.
Gadkari is facing probe over financial dealings of investor firms in Purti Group but has been given a virtual clean chit by the BJP on the basis of probe by financial analyst S. Gurumurthy, who is close to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.