Sangh denies Modi hand in Gadkari row
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With RSS veteran M G Vaidya fomenting the perceived power struggle within the BJP with his remarks on Sunday in a Marathi blog that the "needle of suspicion in the campaign against Gadkari points to Modi", both said this was an "insinuation". Gadkari too issued a statement denying the claim as "totally unfounded".
"The BJP completely rejects such insinuation," Gadkari said, referring to Vaidya as a "senior journalist" and avoiding reference to his association with the RSS altogether. "All central leaders of the party and its chief minister have been working cohesively and unitedly for the cause of the party.
We are fighting the Gujarat Assembly elections with complete unity of purpose and total mutual confidence," he added.
RSS publicity chief Manmohan Vaidya also issued a written statement dissociating the Sangh from M G Vaidya's views. "This is not the official view of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh," said Manmohan Vaidya, incidentally M G Vaidya's son.
"Modi perhaps feels that as long as Gadkari is party president, his dream of becoming PM wouldn't fructify. He could also be feeling that just as he was able to tame Sanjay Joshi, he would be able to tame Gadkari too. And for that he could be using (Ram) Jethmalani. Of course, all of that is speculative (he sare andaj ahet). It may have been born out of misunderstanding and prejudice," Vaidya wrote in his blog. Rajya Sabha MP Ram Jethmalani had earlier sought Gadkari's resignation over the allegations against him, and said that the BJP should project Modi as its prime ministerial candidate.
"I have said it is a suspicion. I haven't affirmatively concluded anything about the possibility of Modi being behind the anti-Nitin Gadkari campaign in the BJP. All I have said in my blog is that the turn of events as witnessed in Ram and Mahesh Jethmalani's outburst against Gadkari, and Ram Jethmalani's suggestion to make Narendra Modi the party's prime ministerial candidate, turns the needle of suspicion towards Gujarat and Modi," Vaidya told The Indian Express.
Notwithstanding the BJP and RSS's attempts to brush aside Vaidya's remarks, it was the first time someone from within the Sangh Parivar had hinted at the bitter battle within the BJP for the top post, and voiced allegations that have been floating around.
The BJP amended its constitution in September enabling Gadkari to make a bid for a second consecutive term as party president, meaning he could lead the party in the next Lok Sabha elections. The party chief, in fact, was believed to have bought peace with Modi by succumbing to his demands and getting former party general secretary Sanjay Joshi, a known Modi baiter, out of the BJP national executive.