Says it would be morally wrong for him to serve in BJP

Pressure seems to be mounting on BJP president Nitin Gadkari to step down from his post in the wake of allegations of financial impropriety, with senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani resigning from the party’s National Executive on Monday, saying it would be “morally wrong” for him to serve in the BJP as long as Mr. Gadkari remained as party chief.

The Oxford-educated lawyer, who is the son of eminent lawyer and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP, Ram Jethmalani, has become the first national executive member to openly question Mr. Gadkari’s continuance as the party chief after corruption charges against him were levelled. Mr. Gadkari has been accused of financial impropriety as chairman of the Purti group.

In his brief letter to Mr. Gadkari, Mr. Mahesh Jethmalani said: “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.”’

He later told journalists that he took the decision due to corruption charges against Mr. Gadkari as well as his latest comments comparing the IQ of Dawood Ibrahim and Swami Vivekananda.

“I am no one to say if Mr. Gadkari should get second term or not, but my personal view is he should not,” Mr. Jethmalani said.

While defending the party president, BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy criticised Mr. Jethmalani for his letter reaching the media “even before it reached the BJP.”