New Delhi: Stepping up the ante against BJP president Nitin Gadkari, noted lawyer and party leader Ram Jethmalani on Tuesday made a blistering attack on the Nagpur leader by saying that he has no moral authority to continue on his post in the wake serious graft allegations made against him.
Speaking to reporters in the national capital, Jethmalani said, “I thought Mr Gadkari would resign voluntarily or at least publicly offer to quit till his name is cleared. Unfortunately, he has not done so. This has forced me to express my views on him and let the whole country know what I feel about him.”
He also claimed that he was in touch with three top BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Shatrughan Sinha, who share his views that Gadkari should quit as party chief.
Jethmalani, while maintaining that ‘resignation is not an admission of guilt’ said that Gadkari lacks the leadership skills and has no capabilities to become the Prime Minister of India ever.
“Gadkari should be out of the office while the probe is still on against him and return to the BJP fold till his name is cleared. Gadkari does not deserve a second term as he lacks leadership skills and has no time for the party.”
“I am sure that he will never become the Prime Minister of India,” he added.
Jethmalani also cleared that he will not quit the party, like his son, because it would send a wrong signal.
“I will not quit the party at this juncture since the country needs a strong opposition, which BJP can give,” he added.
He also slammed Gadkari for not meeting him so far.
Spelling more trouble for the embattled BJP president, many senior party leaders have joined the chorus demanding the Nagpur leader’s immediate resignation.
Jethmalani today claimed the support of several party MPs and MLAs, who are not in favour of Gadkari continuing as the BJP chief.
He further said that no leader within the party had till now opposed his views on Gadkari.
As per sources, party veteran Yashwant Sinha today met Jaswant Singh and RSS ideologue Gurumurti and the two are expected to meet Jethmalani later today.
Meanwhile, Gadkari also held close door consultations with senior party leader Sushma Swaraj this morning.
A section of the BJP leaders are unhappy with the current state of affairs and want Gadkari to quit as soon as possible. They believe that corruption charges against him has dented BJP’s credibility and hurt its stand on the issue of corruption.
The meeting of anti-Gadkari camp leaders comes a day after Ram Jethmalani's son Mahesh Jethmalani resigned from the party national executive saying he simply could not continue with Gadkari at the helm on moral ground.
Expressing his objection with Gadkari being the party president in a strong manner, Mahesh wrote a letter to him saying, "I deem it morally and intellectually inappropriate to continue to serve on the party's National Executive Committee as long as you are the President of the BJP. I hereby tender my resignation from the same."
The BJP president also triggered a fresh row by comparing the IQ levels of Swami Vivekanand and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. However, he later said that he was misquoted by the media.
The new trouble for Gadkari also came a day after he got a little reprieve from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) over the allegations concerning his company. RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi had on Sunday said, "There cannot be action against Gadkari merely on the basis of allegations in media."
First Published: Tuesday, November 06, 2012, 11:49