L K Advani backs Nitin Gadkari but says no immunity for party on graft

He said the charges were about 'standards of business and not misuse of power or corruption.'

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published: October 24, 2012 2:32:43 pm

Senior leader L K Advani today came out in defence of party President Nitin Gadkari,who has come under increasing attack over the affairs of his company,but made it clear at the same time that BJP should not not claim immunity on either scale or nature of the allegations.

“Nitinji has come clean by asking for an inquiry by the Department of Company Affairs. It is a fair and proper response,” he said in a statement here on media reports questioning alleged dubious funding and other issues involving his company Purti Power and Sugar.

Maintaining that Gadkari’s response showed the difference in BJP’s attitude,Advani said the allegations against Gadkari were about “standards of business and not misuse of power or corruption”

“But I am of the view that the BJP should be different and should not claim immunity on either scale or nature of the allegations,” he said.

Advani’s defence of Gadkari assumes significance in the context of continuing media reports of the way his companies were being run and a shadow cast on a second term for him as party president.

BJP MP Ram Jethmalani has demanded that Gadkari should quit the post and not not seek a second term in office in the interest of the party.

Accusing the Government of trying to neutralise the “unprecedented” corruption charges against it by targeting Gadkari,Advani hoped there will be an impartial probe into the matter.

“I hope that the government inquiry will be fair and the government will not use its political hostility to the BJP to colour the inquiry,” he said.

Advani accused the UPA of trying to work a strategy to paint the entire political class with the same brush to minimise and escape its “unpardonable sins”.

He said the allegations against opposition leaders like Gadkari was an “off-shoot” of this.

Advani said one of the allegations of wrongdoing against Gadkari related to land issue which has been proved wrong according to media reports themselves. He also congratulated Gadkari for “voluntarily” asking for a probe into the allegations of dubious funding in his companies.

Advani lamented that the “monumental” corruption by the ruling UPA has “made the political class hang its head in shame”.

Cong ridicules Advani’s remarks backing Gadkari

Congress today took at dig at L K Advani for backing his party chief Nitin Gadkari in the face of allegations of dubious funding of his companies,saying it reflected BJP’s “double standards” on “every issue” including corruption.

The party also sought to draw parallel between the controversy surrounding Gadkari and the cash on camera scandal involving former BJP chief Bangaru Laxman.

“BJP has internalised double standards in its approach to each and every issue. When the BJP or its leaders are in the zone of questioning,the argument of political vendetta is conveniently trotted out but when it involves a non-BJP issue of personality,they shoot from the hip without responsibility and restraint,” party spokesperson Manish Tewari said.

Insisting that there are questions on the BJP chief’s role,he said “you cannot come out of the shadow of these questions by levelling allegations on others. There is only one way that the government probes the matter and you come out clean”.

He was responding to the remarks of Advani lauding Gadkari’s offer to face an inquiry into the allegations and saying it is a “fair and proper” response.

Advani said the allegations against Gadkari involving his company Purti Power and Sugar were about “standards of business and not misuse of power or corruption”.

“I hope that the government inquiry will be fair and the government will not use its political hostility to the BJP to colour the inquiry,” he said.

Another Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi also ridiculed Advani’s contentions.

“I feel like laughing at this defence. The entire country has seen the allegations has not come from one section but from different sides. Even after that,if instead of giving explanation on the allegations,he (Advani) is congratulating Gadkari. People of the country will give a befitting response to it,” he said.

In a statement laced with sarcasm,Alvi said the president of a party represents its ideology and as such BJP is identified with its chief’s ideology.

“We remember the entire BJP was defending its former President Bangaru Laxman,when allegations were levelled against him…. It is their decision whom they want to keep as their party chief. We are not saying BJP should remove its chief or Gadkari should resign,” he said.

Laxman had to quit as BJP chief after he was caught on camera allegedly taking a bribe of Rs one lakh in a fictitious arms deal case 11 years ago and was sentenced to four years in jail by a Delhi court in April this year.

Alvi said the BJP is accusing UPA of corruption even as its own party chief is facing serious allegations.

“My suggestion is that one should first clarify about oneself. BJP should clarify about the allegations against Gadkari instead of putting allegations on others.”

Speaking separately,Tewari said that the allegations are serious and both the BJP chief and the RSS should answer.

“BJP chief should come out with an answer. RSS should answer to it. But what will you say,when you have nothing to say. That,which is evident,does not require any proof. When so many facts are evident about the matter,what answer can you expect from the RSS or anybody else,” Tewari said.

He also targeted Arvind Kejriwal’s India Against Corruption describing it as B team of a section of the BJP and reminded the Opposition party “when you sow the winds of insinuation,you reap the whirlwind of calumny” and added “we would hope and expect that the BJP leadership realises the virtue of responsibility”.

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