Apart from stating that party president Nitin Gadkari did no moral or legal wrong in his business transactions, the joint statement issued by Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley on Tuesday has gagged the party by saying that leaders should not air their differences in the media. All that was left for party spokesman ND Nadda was to reiterate that the BJP was fully with Gadkari.
Interestingly, many leaders were away from Delhi, including former party presidents Murli Manohar Joshi, who is abroad, and M Venkaiah Naidu, who is in his village, besides some key members of the party’s media team, some of whom were in Gujarat. Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who was named by Ram Jethmalani as one of those opposing Gadkari’s continuance in office, was not in Delhi on Wednesday. Many of them said they were in no position to talk about Tuesday’s developments and that they were not aware of the details.
Gadkari kept away from media though he was in Delhi. It is learnt that he has called on Swaraj and former party president Rajnath Singh to thank them for their support to him.
It is not clear why and when right-wing ideologue and chartered accountant S Gurumurthy, who is known to be part of the inner circle of the RSS and the BJP, was called in to explain issues pertaining to Gadkari’s businesses to the BJP leaders and media team. Did Gurumurthy offer his good offices voluntarily, or did Gadkari ask for help from him? Or, did the RSS suggest that Gurumruthy clarify matters to the BJP leadership? BJP leaders remain tightlipped on these issues. Why wasn’t the matter settled when Gadkari himself explained it to his colleagues on October 26?
Will Jethmalani continue to speak his mind? What will be the consequences for Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Sharughan Sinha for joining Jethmalani in expressing their opinion on the Gadkari issue?
The BJP has withdrawn into a shell of silence on the sensitive issue, focusing on the Gujarat assembly election. Some of the members of the party’s central team have gone there as the party’s media centres were opened in parts of the state.