Uma Bharti backs Nitin Gadkari, snubs Jethmalanis



New Delhi: The fissures in the BJP over continuance of party chief Nitin Gadkari in the post resurfaced on Saturday with party leader Uma Bharti coming to his defence while Jagadish Shettigar, a member of party's national executive, suggesting that Gadkari should resign.

Uma Bharti attacked party Bhartaiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Ram Jethamalani and his son Mahesh Jethmalani, who have been in the forefront of demanding that Gadkari should step down and not seek another term as president over allegations related to financial impropriety in a firm he controlled.

She told news channels that the demands of father-son duo will not have any impact on the decision-making process concerning Gadkari.

Apparently alluding to the Rashtirya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological fountainhead of the BJP, she said the father-son duo cannot even go to the place where crucial decisions were taken.

"Where the decision is taken, these people do not have even permission to go," Bharti said.

Ram and Mahesh Jethmalani have spoken against Gadkari's continuation as party chief following allegations about business dealings of investor companies in Purti group controlled by him.

Gadkari's remarks purportedly comparing Swami Vivekananda to fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim also landed him in trouble and he later apologised for his remarks.

The party's core committee met earlier this week and gave Gadkari a virtual clean chit. Gadkari has also offered to face a government probe.

Shettigar demanded that Gadkari should follow the example of party veteran LK Advani who had relinquished his post when he faced allegations in the Jain hawala case linked to money laundering in the 1990s.

Shettigar said the example set by Advani can be followed. "No need to tell him (Gadkari) what he needs to do," he said.

IANS