BJP leader Ram Jethmalani on Tuesday demanded the immediate resignation of party chief Nitin Gadkari and claimed three other senior leaders including Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha were with him on the issue.
“I am in touch with Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha (all Lok Sabha members). We seem to be on the same wave length. I don’t presume to predict how they will… We are clearly of the opinion that resignation of the party president is imminently called for,” he told reporters
He said he had written to Mr. Gadkari and L.K. Advani on his and on behalf of other three leaders but refused to divulge the contents.
Mr. Ram Jethmalani, who first demanded Mr. Gadkari’s resignation last month, said the latter should not be given another term as president since it would harm the party in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The recent BJP national council meeting had amended the party’s constitution to enable Mr. Gadkari get a second term.
His son Mahesh Jethmalani quit the BJP national executive, saying he cannot be associated with it as long as Mr. Gadkari remains the party president.
Mr. Ram Jethmalani said there was a churning going on in the RSS on the Gadkari issue and felt that the Sangh founthead has not backed the latter.
To a question on the statement by some in BJP that he should not have gone public with his demands, he said he had tried to discuss it internally but nobody in the party had called him for any discussion.
Mr. Gadkari has been under attack from various quarters after media expose of the alleged dubious funding of a company run by him. He has refused to quit maintaining that he has offered himself for any probe on the issue.
Mr. Ram Jethmalani said even when he made the demand for Mr. Gadkari’s resignation from London last month, he thought the party president would consider it and call him and discuss it. He said Mr. Gadkari did not call him. In fact, RSS ideologue S. Gurumurthy called him and requested him not to make further statements on the issue.
Mr. Jethmalani said he has been trying to talk about the issue with the party leaders internally.
Asked if he was ready for any disciplinary action by the party, he said he would be happy to be expelled for making public this demand but said he would not quit the organisation nor Parliament.
Queried who should replace Mr. Gadkari as party president, he said as per BJP constitution the senior most Vice-President should take over.