Defiant Ram Jethmalani hits out at BJP, says party losing 'moral ground' on corruption

Ram Jethmalani
Eminent, though controversial lawyer Ram Jethmalani today disapproved the BJP's core group backing Nitin Gadkari, saying the party is losing moral ground in the fight against corruption.

"It is a betrayal of the people," Jethmalani, Rajya Sabha MP and noted lawyer, said in a written statement in response to yesterday's decision of the BJP core group in supporting Gadkari's continuation as party president.

Jethmalani, who spearheaded the public revolt against Gadkari, made known his unhappiness with the party leadership ignoring his advice that Gadkari must resign in the wake of allegations of dubious transactions involving his company.

"In the course of my fight against corruption, which may even turn out to be a lone fight, I will find it necessary to call for resignation of many persons holding important political and public offices," Jethmalani said.

"In this respect the party's decision has sapped my vitality...I wish good luck to Mr Gadkari, Sh Gurumurthy and the members of the core group," he said sarcastically in his statement.

Reacting to party's appeal to all its leaders and workers not to air such views in public which hurt the image of the party, Jethmalani said, "The gag order does not apply to me.

It applies to senior leaders. I am not a leader of the party much less a senior leader. I do propose, however, not to speak about this Gadkari affair anymore, except that it's my duty to warn the party that it is losing moral ground and emasculating the party's strength to fight the war against corruption."

Earlier Jethmalani said he will carry on his fight against the BJP President but will not quit the party.

"I will carry on my fight alone if necessary, whatever the BJP might decide...I won't resign from the party, because I want to carry on the fight. Why should I?," he said when asked if he was considering resigning from the party after Gadkari got a reprieve following RSS support.

Jethmalani, however, left it to the BJP leadership to decide on whether to allow Gadkari to continue. "They are respectable people, they hear everything what is happening in the press. It is for them to decide," he said.

He said RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy had promised to send the documents relating to Gadkari's company to him with an explanatory note. Sources close to him said the documents are yet to reach him.

"He also promised that Gadkari will be willing to answer questions that you have to ask and he will come to you and answer those questions," the eminent lawyer said.

Jethmalani, who had created ripples yesterday by publicly demanding Gadkari's resignation and raised serious questions over his continuance as party chief, had demanded seeing the documents on which Gurumurthy was trying to convince him that allegations against Gadkari were baseless.

He said Gurumurthy, who is an old friend of his whom he respects, met him yesterday evening and said he needed to see some documents before arriving at a conclusion in Gadkari's case, but did tell Jethmalani that he was convinced that all accusations against Gadkari are ill-founded.

"While I respected his opinion, I wanted to see the documents for which he had been waiting for so long," he said. Jethmalani had said that he may like to ask questions to the BJP President in a bid to convince himself of his innocence to which Gurumurthy agreed.

"I told him (Gurumurthy) that it may be necessary for me to ask Gadkari a few questions. He says don't worry about it.

If you want to ask questions, Gadkari will answer them," Jethmalani had said after the meeting with Gurumurthy.

When Gurumurthy said Gadkari was prepared to answer all his queries, Jethmalani told him, "I don;t want him now; this can only be after I have studied the documents."

Gadkari has been under attack from various quarters after a media expose of the alleged dubious funding of a company run by him. He has refused to quit as BJP chief maintaining that he has offered himself for any probe on the issue.

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