The RSS has warned that ‘sensationalism and carelessness’ in the fight against corruption will face the ‘danger of losing its steam’.
“Probably this is the real objective of some selfish elements also. We appeal to all concerned to bear these well-meaning principles in mind for the fight against corruption,” RSS general secretary Bhayyaji Joshi said in a statement here.
He contended that some of the allegations against BJP president Nitin Gadkari had been levelled only by the media and an authorised agency was yet to look into those charges. “That being the situation, it is unfortunate that the discourse on these allegations has turned more and more political.”
The RSS feels the ‘Nagpur boy’ who was propped up as BJP chief by the organisation is still the best bet at the moment.
The statement came just before Mr. Gadkari arrived here from Nagpur on Friday for an informal session with the party brass to take stock of the political situation. He is scheduled to campaign in Himachal Pradesh.
The BJP chief has been in the centre of the storm ever since anti-corruption activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal targeted him on charges of irregularities in the companies in which he has stakes.
As sections of the media unravelled embarrassing details of the wrongdoings in some of these companies and with Union Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily announcing that discreet enquiries would be made by his Ministry into the affairs of the firms, pressure began to mount on the BJP president to step down.
Some of the senior leaders within the BJP arraigned against Mr. Gadkari jumped into the fray hoping that they would stand to gain come the general elections in 2014. Barring L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj none of the senior leaders has come out forcefully in defence of Mr. Gadkari.
Mr. Joshi maintained that the fight against corruption should be waged at a non-political and non-partisan level. He said the RSS was “saddened” by efforts to drag the organisation into the row.
“In the last few days, the media has been making allegations about certain irregularities in the corporate affairs of some political leaders. These allegations have caused a lot of consternation in the general public.”
The Sangh believed that any individual or organisation indulging in any illegal activity “must be subjected to impartial probe ... all those found guilty be punished.”
That the RSS is firmly behind Mr. Gadkari was evident earlier in the day as well when the BJP fielded its spokesman and one-time confidant of the party chief Prakash Javadekar to meet the press. “Here is our chief who has voluntarily come forward asking for a probe. Why don’t follow the example,” he asked.
‘Probe RSS constructions’
Nagpur Staff Reporter writes:
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thackeray demanded a probe into the RSS constructions, which took place during Mr. Gadkari’s tenure as the Maharashtra Public Works Department Minister.
Speaking to reporters at the Nagpur airport, Mr. Thackeray said: “From 1995 to 1999 and in last three years, there have been many RSS constructions. Who funded these constructions? It should be investigated. They [RSS] say that it’s ‘Gurudakshina,’ so it should be investigated as to who this big ‘Shishya’ [disciple] is? They [RSS] should answer all the questions that are being raised these days.”
“The RSS always says that the money they get is ‘Gurudakshina’ but a large amount of money is coming to the RSS and which ‘Shishya’ is giving this money should be investigated. Who is this big shishya, who is providing money on such a large scale?” asked Mr. Thackeray.
On the allegations against the BJP chief, he said: “Names of the people who were given contracts during Nitin Gadkari’s tenure as the PWD Minister are coming up. So I think all the people who are connected with Purti [BJP chief’s firm] should be investigated. Gadkari had alleged that I owe 15 lakh rupees to him. They had sowed sugarcane in our district and they were not taking it with them, so they requested us to take it to our factory and help out the farmers. We helped them but we have no dues pending to Mr. Gadkari.”
“They seem to have made money by using forged companies; the contractors who are collecting toll in the highways [built in Gadkari's tenure as PWD Minister] have invested in Purti. So on this basis, I have been saying that from 1995 to 1999 and how RSS increased its area of influence in this period should be investigated,” said the MPCC president.
On whether Mr. Gadkari should continue as the BJP president, he said: “It is for the BJP to decide. They should decide if they want to continue with him or want him to resign.”