New Delhi: Newly-elected Bharatiya Janata Party chief Rajnath Singh on Wednesday defended his predecessor Nitin Gadkari, saying the "baseless allegations" against him made him decide against opting for a second term."

The circumstances in which I accept this responsibility are not happy for us. Gadkari is one of our workers on whose character questions cannot be raised," Rajnath Singh said speaking soon after becoming the new party president.

"We wanted him to continue. We amended the constitution for it. But the way he was attacked by baseless allegations - he was hurt and resigned," he said.

Nitin Gadkari, who was all set for a second term, had to step down at the last moment after on-field investigation by income tax department in some companies allegedly related to the Purti Group, to which he is reportedly related. Gadkari has, however, denied any links with the company.

"I want to tell him that the entire party stands with him. I am not accepting this as a post but as a responsibility," Rajnath Singh added.

(Agencies)

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