Notwithstanding RSS’ backing, Nitin Gadkari may not get elected as BJP president for a second straight term unopposed, with dissident leader Mahesh Jethmalani on Monday hinting at entering the fray for a “token” fight.
“I just said there should be a contest if Mr. Gadkari is contesting. If I have to engage in a token fight, I may decide,” Mr. Jethmalani told reporters here on Monday.
He, however, clarified that he has not “given a thought” to the matter as yet.
Mr. Jethmalani, who had resigned from BJP national executive in November last year to put pressure on Mr. Gadkari to step down from his post in the wake of allegations of financial impropriety, was not very straightforward about his intention to contest.
“I don’t know from where these rumours (that he will contest against Gadkari) are originating. I am not among the claimants (to BJP chief’s post),” he said.
When repeatedly questioned by reporters outside the Bombay High Court, Mr. Mahesh, son of BJP veteran Ram Jethmalani, whose suspension was recently revoked by the party after a truce with Mr. Gadkari, said he would make known his decision later in the day.
Asked whether he had spoken to any senior BJP leaders about contesting for the party’s top job, the Oxford-educated lawyer said, “Who will I talk to? I am a small person, only an ordinary worker.”
Mr. Mahesh and his father Ram Jethmalani, also a party MP, were both vocal in demanding the resignation of Mr. Gadkari as BJP president in the wake of reported irregularities in the Purti Group.