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. “There should be a contest against Mr Gadkari,” said Jethmalani. He said if he had to engage in a token fight, he may decide.
Jethmalani, however, pointed out that he had not given a thought to the matter as yet, indicating that he was non-committal on the issue. “I do not know from where these rumours are originating. I am not among the claimants (to the BJP chief’s post),” he said.
Jethmalani had quit the BJP national executive last year to mount pressure on Gadkari to step down as the BJP chief after allegations against the Purti group controlled by him came to the light.
Jethmalani and his father Ram, had taken on Gadkari over allegations of financial irregularities.
When repeatedly questioned by reporters outside the Bombay HC, Mahesh, whose suspension was recently revoked by the party after a truce with Gadkari, said he would make known his decision later.
Asked whether he had spoken to any senior BJP leaders about contesting for the party’s top job, he said, “Who will I talk to? I am a small person, only an ordinary worker.”
Meanwhile, reports from New Delhi said Gadkari may file nomination papers on Wednesday. The election date will be announced if any other person were to file his nominations.
Returning officer Thawar Chand Gehlot announced the procedure for choosing the president. The presidential nominee will need to file nominations from at least five states and 10 members will have to sign the nomination. If there is a contest, the 2,000 members of the national council elected from the state councils, will vote.
Kalyan returns to BJP
Lucknow: BJP rebel and former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh announced his return to the party fold on Monday at a rally attended by top party leaders. Kalyan merged his Jan Kranti Party into the BJP but did not join the BJP formally as that could lead to his disqualification as a Lok Sabha MP from Etah. “I will devote my whole life to the BJP now. When I die, I would like my body to be wrapped in the party flag,” he said, breaking down on the stage in front of a huge crowd. Amidst sobs he explained how circumstances had separated him from his parent party. “But now that I am back, I swear to work for the party till the end of my life,” he said.
– Deepak Gidwani