New Delhi: Beleaguered BJP president Nitin Gadkari might have got a new lease of life after the party’s core group meeting on Tuesday, but the speculations are high about Gadkari’s fate as party chief.

Addressing media after the meeting, party’s chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad had rejected the allegations against Gadkari and said that party leaders reposed their trust in the present party chief.

However, it is being speculated that clean chit to Gadkari was aimed at preparing the ways for his respectable exit from the post of BJP president.

Gadkari’s tenure ends on coming December 20 and it is believed that the party’s top brass will select a successor of Gadkari by then with the consent of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Gadkari was already in trouble after the allegations by IAC activist Arvind Kejriwal and his team about irregularities in the former’s trusts and his commercial ventures. But his statement equating the IQs of Swami Vivekananda and fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim sparked controversy within the party and a section of party leaders especially noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani and his son Mahesh Jethmalani vehemently demanded Gadkari’s resignation.

Jethmalani had also said on Tuesday, “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. We are clearly of the opinion that resignation of the party president is imminently called for.”

RSS slams Gadkari

Even RSS too snubbed Gadkari on Tuesday for his controversial statement on Vivekanand.

"People like Swami Vivekananda are much respected people across the world. So when we talk about them...we have to keep in mind that sentiments of millions of people are attached to them and we should be careful about that," RSS spokesman Ram Madhav said on Tuesday before the crucial core group meet.


November 4: Gadkari said the intelligence quotient level of Swami Vivekanand and Dawood Ibrahim was almost the same, but the spiritual leader had used it for nation building while the underworld don for pursuing crime (Click Here)

November 5: Following severe criticism from all quarters, the BJP president denied comparing the intelligence quotient (IQ) level of Swami Vivekanand to that of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim, claiming that he had been misquoted (Click Here)

November 5: Mahesh Jethmalani resigned from the national executive, saying he would not continue in the party's highest decision-making body as long as Gadkari was its president (Click Here)

November 6: Ram Jethmalani demanded immediate resignation of BJP President Nitin Gadkari and claimed three other senior leaders including Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Satrughan Sinha were with him on the issue (Click Here)

November 6: RSS ideologue and chartered accountant S Gurumurthy was specially invited to make a detailed presentation on the investments made in Gadkari's company Purti Sugar and Power Ltd (Click Here)

November 6: Crucial core group met to discuss the issue of continuance of Gadkari as the party president (Click Here)

November 6: LK Advani’s name was making rounds as the successor of Gadkari. But RSS, backing Gadkari, compelled BJP not to remove Gadkari with immediate effect (Click Here)

November 6: BJP gives clean chit to Gadkari, apparently making ways for his respectable exit  (Click Here)

November 6: BJP likely to select Gadkari’s successor by December 20, the day when Gadkari’s tenure ends (Click Here)

Even after clean chit, BJP remains divided over Gadkari

Tuesday’s meet of the BJP core group clearly reflected division within the party over the continuance of Gadkari as its president.

Advani upset with Gadkari

Senior leader L K Advani skipped the core group meeting. It is believed that the senior party leader is unhappy over Gadkari's continuance. Seeking to downplay Advani's absence from the meeting, Ravi Shankar Prasad said he had already been briefed elaborately by RSS ideologue and chartered accountant S Gurumurthy on the fundings.

Gadkari also stayed away from the meeting to which Gurumurthy was specially invited to make a detailed presentation on the investments made in Gadkari's company- Purti Sugar and Power Ltd.

Gurumurthy acts as mediator

Gurumurthy appeared to have taken the role of a mediator as he met Advani and later Jethmalani in a bid to persuade the latter to relent on the issue of Gadkari's resignation.

Gurumurthy, who has examined these documents, made a detailed presentation to party leaders.

"The meeting accepted the presentation and is convinced that there was no legal or moral wrongdoing by Gadkari," said a Joint Statement issued by senior leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj after the two-hour meeting at the party headquarters.

The statement endorsed Gadkari's readiness to face any probe, maintaining that he has "no direct or indirect interest" in the 18 companies which have invested in Purti Group.

Jethmalani said he would like to check the documents on the basis of which Gadkari is claiming innocence.

Swaraj reiterates support

Earlier, Swaraj tweeted to "reiterate" her support to Gadkari and deny media reports that she was not supporting him.

"The media reports that I am not supporting Shri Nitin Gadkari are absolutely false. I have always supported him and I reiterate my support," leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha tweeted.

Meanwhile, two senior party leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Vinay Katiyar held a separate meeting and are understood to have shared the view that BJP's image had suffered because of allegations against Gadkari and something needed to be done immediately.


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