New Delhi: Stepping up further pressure, Ram Jethmalani on Tuesday demanded the immediate resignation of BJP President Nitin Gadkari and claimed three other senior leaders including Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha were with him on the issue.

"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. I don't presume to predict how they will..We are clearly of the opinion that resignation of the party president is imminently called for," he told reporters

He said he had written to Gadkari and LK Advani on his and on behalf of other three leaders but refused to divulge the contents. Jethmalani, who first demanded Gadkari's resignation last month, said Gadkari should not be given another term as president since it would harm the party in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The recent BJP national council meeting had amended the party's constitution to enable Gadkari get a second term.

His son Mahesh, who is also an eminent lawyer, quit BJP national executive on Monday, saying he cannot be associated with it as long as Gadkari remains the party president. Jethmalani said there was churning going on in the RSS on the Gadkari issue and felt that the Sangh founthead has not backed him on the issue.

To a question on the statement by some in BJP that he should not have gone public with his demands, he said he had tried to discuss it internally but nobody in the party had called him for any discussion. Gadkari has been under attack from various quarters after media expose of the alleged dubious funding of a company run by him. He has refused to quit maintaining that he has offered himself for any probe on the issue.

Jethmalani said even when he made the demand for Gadkari's resignation from London last month, he thought the party President would consider it and call him and discuss it. He said Gadkari did not call him. In fact RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy called him and requested him not to make further statements on the issue. Jethmalani said he has been trying to talk about the issue with the party leaders internally.

Asked if he was ready for any disciplinary action by the party, he said he would be happy to be expelled for making public this demand but said he would not quit the organization nor Parliament. Queried who should replace Gadkari as party president, he said as per BJP constitution the senior most Vice President should take over.

Reiterating his view that Narendra Modi would be the best Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP, he said Modi does not have time for becoming party President. Jethmalani said with Gadkari continuing in office, "damage has been done and only a fool will deny this." He said during the probe into charges against him, Gadkari should step down and he can return once he is cleared of the charges.

The eminent lawyer also slammed the BJP President for his comments comparing Swami Vivekanand and Dawood Ibrahim and termed it as a "silly statement". He also attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi questioning his abilities to lead the country.


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