That rivals of Nitin Gadkari were determined to embarrass him was evident with an aide of senior leader Yashwant Sinha, who was part of the group which had raised a banner of revolt against Mr. Gadkari after charges of irregularities in the Purti group owned by him surfaced, picking up a set of nomination papers from the party headquarters.
Another rebel Mahesh Jethmalani has complained that he was being denied a nomination form which was vehemently refuted by the Returning Officer, Thawar Chand Gehlot.
Under the Bharatiya Janata Party’s constitution, any ordinary member can enter the fray. However, the catch is that the contestant should have been an active member of the party for 12 consecutive years and an ordinary member for 15 years. The nomination needs at least 20 proposers each from five different State units.
The run-up to the second term bid of Mr. Gadkari has been rough. The charges of impropriety by a firm owned by him triggered a demand for his resignation from within and outside the party.
He survived the storm, thanks to the solid backing from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Despite clear signals from the Sangh Parivar that it favoured a second term, the rebels did not give up their campaign against Mr. Gadkari.
Cracking the whip against the rebels, the Parliamentary Board of the party presided over by Mr. Gadkari suspended party MP Ram Jethmalani, who was in the forefront of anti-Gadkari campaign.
Last week, Mr. Advani made a last-ditch attempt to stall the return of Mr. Gadkari by suggesting alternative names but he was forced to back off after a categorical message by the RSS that its protégé deserved another stint.
The Gadkari camp was rattled by the IT raids during the day. This was evident when the party put out a statement, though initially during the day the spokespersons had insisted that firms raided by the Income Tax Department had nothing to do with Mr. Gadkari, condemning the raids as “calculated, mischievous and politically motivated.”