Though the BJP might have presented a united face as it countered the IAC within an hour of Kejriwal levelling charges against its party president, Nitin Gadkari on Wedesday, there is a robust section within the party which has quietly enjoyed this targeting of the leader.
In fact, this pro-Modi group is unhappy that Kejriwal did not come forward with a stronger case against Gadkari and did not expose his alleged connections with Ajay Sancheti, the controversial Rajya Sabha MP.
This resurgent section within the party point out that the Mumbai national executive had recognised Modi’s ascendance by removing Sanjay Joshi from a key position in the party. It was established beyond doubt that the two leaders who would be at the helm of affairs when the party goes to polls would be Gadkari and Modi.
The message that went out to leaders like Sushma Swaraj, who had not been getting along with Modi, was that they would have to fall in line. It is common knowledge that some senior leaders like Arun Jaitley are quite close to Modi and enjoy the Gujarat chief minister’s confidence.
These middle-ranking BJP functionaries are of the opinion that with Gadkari’s weaknesses exposed, it will be difficult to find someone who remotely qualifies to challenge Modi’s ultimate elevation to the prime minister’s job. Gadkari could have acted in concert with the likes of Swaraj and LK Advani and tried to create roadblocks for Modi.
These loyalists of the Gujarat chief minister are over-confident that nothing earth-shattering can be unearthed against Modi during the run-up to the polls and in this season of scams his clean image will provide a remarkable advantage.
What further strengthens the aspirations of the pro-Modi faction is that apart from the BJP which made full use of the coal scam, Kejriwal has successfully launched a sustained campaign against the Congress by hitting out at Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, Robert Vadra, and law minister Salman Khurshid.
“All this taken together is building up a very negative mood throughout the country and the BJP, if it propels its campaign in the right direction, might surprise everybody with an impressive tally,” said a BJP leader.
This group believes that there is no stopping Modi if the BJP touches the 200 mark or even surpasses 180. “You never know with this anger on the streets. The anti-Congress outbursts may lead to a post-Emergency 1977-like situation,” said a senior leader. The BJP believes Kejriwal might be aggressive and may further consolidate the public anger on the streets but he doesn’t have the organisation to reap a benefit. He may find it difficult to secure votes outside Delhi.
This pro-Modi faction believes that instead of dividing the anti-Congress votes, Kejriwal may actually end up benefiting the BJP. And if the BJP gets a high percentage of seats by sweeping its bastions yet again, it might become possible for Modi to come to the fore. Modi’s detractors may be swept away if the BJP inches close to the magic figure of 200.
These BJP functionaries ask: “Who would have guessed the Congress would take its tally beyond 200 in 2009?” The Modi loyalists are convinced that if the tally is anywhere beyond 180, allies would come on board automatically and Modi would be elected the prime minister.
Sharad Pawar backs BJP chief
New Delhi: Seeking to trash the allegations of land scam against Nitin Gadkari, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday came out in his defence saying the BJP president was working for the development of farmers. “Gadkari is a responsible man who works responsibly,” Pawar said and told team Arvind Kejriwal that if it has any evidence of corruption against the BJP chief it should go to court.
Pawar, whose party is part of the UPA at the Centre and has been sharing power with the Congress, suggested that he has no problems about defending the BJP chief. On IAC, he said, “If anyone has got some grievance they have every right to make allegation... but if suppose somebody has done a wrong thing best is to prosecute him... go to court.”
“Or like Gadkari has offered any kind of inquiry, then somebody should go in depth and bring out what is the truth.”
He said that he has not gone in depth but on “what I have seen so far when setting of sugar mills along with the farmers is a service to that area and secondly taking land and providing excellent quality of seeds to hundreds of farmers is definitely useful to the farming community. Gadkari is a responsible man and works responsibly”. —PTI