BJP stands by Gadkari, says has faith in his leadership

The Bharatiya Janata Party said it endorses Gadkari's stand "that he is ready and willing to face a probe".

NEW DELHI: The BJP Tuesday night backed party chief Nitin Gadkari, who faces allegations of financial impropriety, saying he has done "no legal or moral wrong".

The party held a two-hour meeting of its core group in the wake of allegations of financial wrongdoing against Gadkari in the running of his Purti Group.

The Bharatiya Janata Party said it endorses Gadkari's stand "that he is ready and willing to face a probe".

"The party has full faith in his leadership," said BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, reading out a statement by leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.

Earlier, top BJP leaders met here this evening to discuss the impact of the allegations of corruption against party president Nitin Gadkari.

Gadkari has been facing the heat over alleged involvement of a company linked to him in questionable business deals and remarks Monday comparing the IQ levels of spiritual guru Vivekananda and fugitive don Dawood.

On Tuesday, the pressure for his ouster mounted with outspoken MP Ram Jethmalani saying that senior leaders Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Shatrughan Sinha were with him in wanting Gadkari to step down.

"We four are of clear view that a resignation of Gadkari is necessary," Ram Jethmalani said, adding that he had also written a letter to party veteran L.K. Advani calling for the immediate resignation of Gadkari.

"... We are unanimous in our views and I have no doubt about it. They have not expressed them publicly and I hope they will express soon," the Rajya Sabha MP said.

The day before, his son Mahesh Jethmalani had quit the national executive of the party over Gadkari continuing as party chief.

The demands for Gadkari's resignation forced the party leadership into a series of separate meetings involving Advani, Gadkari as well as Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.

Informed sources said Ram Jethmalani's demands for Gadkari's ouster found resonance in sections of the party that felt that his continuing as president would rob the BJP of the moral high ground on corruption in the winter session of parliament beginning Nov 22. (Agencies)