With less than two days left for the crucial winter session of Parliament to begin, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is grappling with internal problems, as senior leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha has demanded the resignation of party president Nitin Gadkari on the issue of alleged financial wrongdoing.
The timing of the mutiny against Gadkari by Sinha is also significant because the main Opposition party is set to launch a nationwide protest against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) tommorow to put pressure on the Union government on allegations of corruption and foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
“I call upon Nitin Gadkari, with all the humility at my command, to immediately step down from the post of party president. I would also like to put this question to the workers of the party and people at large. If I am wrong, please tell me so. If I am right, please support me in whatever way you can. The BJP has always set the highest standard of conduct in the past, which should be followed even now,” said Sinha.
Earlier, senior BJP leader Ram Jethmalani had demanded the BJP president’s resignation and had claimed that he had the support of Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Shatrughan Sinha.
“Whether our party president is guilty or not is not the issue today. The issue is that all of us in public life should be beyond reproach. I am confident that the issue I am raising has merit and I have faith in the wisdom of the party to be able to deal with this issue. In fact, it is this faith, which kept me from issuing this statement earlier. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, the party has been unable to take a decision in the matter,” said Sinha.
Troubled by the growing voices in the BJP against Gadkari, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leadership had sent S Gurumurthy to convince BJP leaders that Gadkari was not involved in any illegal or immoral activities, but the effort didn’t yield any result as veteran leader L K Advani was also of the view that Gadkari should step down from the top post, sources said.
The RSS leadership is desperately trying to give a second term (of three years) to Gadkari, which will start from January 2013. However, most of the BJP leaders led by Advani are against the move, as they believe that Gadkari has become a political liability due to the corruption allegations against him.
Sinha added that nobody has no right to let down the people of India. He noted that the party has taken “the questionable method of self certification”. “The highest standard of conduct set by leaders like Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Atal Behari Vaypayee and L K Advani must be adhered to at all costs. The nation is in peril and the BJP must rise to the occasion,” said Sinha.