New Delhi: Now that the BJP has backed its chief Nitin Gadkari in the face of corruption allegations, the question on everyone’s mind is - will he get a second term as party`s president, for which the BJP has already amended its constitution?
On Friday, the BJP core group met here and decided to back Gadkari, who is facing accusations of wrongdoing in business dealings. The party described speculation of his resignation as "baseless" even as the RSS distanced itself from the matter.
Gadkari, who has been targeted by anti-corruption activists as well as media of alleged impropriety in his businesses, had met senior party leaders in the capital prior to the core group meeting last evening.
"The party is unanimous in backing him," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said after the meeting ended.
"The speculation about his (Gadkari) resignation is totally baseless," he said, adding Gadkari would leave for Himachal Pradesh on Saturday to campaign for the state Assembly Election.
The top leaders of the BJP, including Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, were present at the meeting at Gadkari`s residence to discuss the controversy over Gadkari`s firm Purti Group.
Earlier, Gadkari met party leader LK Advani after arriving in the national capital. According to sources, the Maharashtra leader told Advani that he would abide by the decision of the party.
The RSS, the BJP`s mentor, in a statement on Friday said it had nothing to do with the matter.
"RSS has nothing to do with any of the allegations. It is saddened by the efforts aimed at dragging Sangh`s name in this," said the statement released by RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiya Joshi.
He also said the Sangh also believes that any individual or organisation indulging in any illegal activity "must be subjected to impartial probe" and that "all those found guilty be punished".
Analysts said that asking Gadkari to step down as president would have hurt the BJP’s chances in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat which go to polls in November and December respectively.
With the RSS also having reportedly asked Gadkari to come clean on the allegations, the only choice before the BJP top leadership was to let the Maharashtra leader continue as president till his current term expires and take a final call when the time comes to decide on his second term.
The latest allegations against Gadkari are about improper business dealings as chairman of the Purti Group.
The Income Tax Department and the Company Affairs Ministry have begun separate inquiries into Gadkari`s firm and its financial dealings with 26 investor companies.
(With IANS inputs)