The Bharatiya Janata Party has put on hold its corruption campaign against the ruling Congress and NCP following charges of graft levelled against party president Nitin Gadkari.
The deputy leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Gopinath Munde, was to start the campaign after Dussehra. But the entire research team of the state BJP which was engaged in digging out the irrigation-related documents have been asked to slow down.
The corruption campaign expert, national general secretary Kirit Somaiya, is maintaining a low profile. The opposition leader in the assembly, Eknath Khadse, and opposition leader in council, Vinod Tawde, are refraining from corruption campaigns at the moment.
A senior BJP general secretary, on condition of anonymity, said, “Everybody was busy with the developments with Gadkari. We are confident that his image will emerge clean.”
Gadkari himself has gone public to explain, “I am clean. I have done nothing wrong.”
But the second-rung leaders in the party are in a dilemma, as any attempt to launch an attack on the Congress and NCP would boomerang and end up hitting them instead. Political managers in the party said, “We will have to reschedule our corruption campaigns. Once we sort out Gadkari’s issues, things will be back to normal,” said a leader.
“At least half a dozen public interest petitions are pending before courts. The anti-corruption bureau is investigating the irrigation scams against the NCP ministers,” he added.
A fortnight ago, all the state BJP leaders, including Vinod Tawde, Madhav Bhandari, Sudhir Mungantiwar and Eknath Khadse had promised to intensify their corruption campaign in November. Somaiya had claimed, “Irrigation scams against NCP leaders will be taken to its logical end.”
The state team working on irrigation scams has identified half a dozen irrigation projects across Marathwada, Konkan and North Maharashtra where there are financial irregularities related to irrigation projects.