BJP cautions Jethmalani, Shatrughan joins oust Gadkari chorus
The BJP's internal troubles resurfaced Saturday with the party taking a serious note of Ram Jethmalani questioning the stance over appointment of new CBI chief and Shatrughan Sinha joining those who have asked Nitin Gadkari to step down as party chief over allegations related to a firm linked to him.
"Appropriate action will be taken at the right time", BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain said, taking a serious note of Jethmalani's letter to Gadkari questioning the party's stance on the process adopted by the government for appointment of Ranjit Sinha as the new chief of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
"The party has taken a serious note of his statement. We reject his statement. Appropriate action will be taken at the right time," Hussain said here.
Jethmalani, an eminent lawyer and a Rajya Sabha member, severely embarrassed the party as he wrote to Gadkari questioning the BJP's opposition to the process of appointment of new CBI chief.
The BJP view was conveyed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a joint letter by Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley.
The prime minister rejected the BJP's demand to keep the new CBI chief's appointment in abeyance and follow the method of selection through collegium after the Lokpal Bill was passed.
Jethmalani, in his letter, said he was astonished to read the BJP's stand.
"I regret that this criticism is the result of complete ignorance of relevant facts and possibly has been instigated by a most undesirable rival who had to withdraw his petition before the C.A.T. yesterday as a result of this appointment," Jethmalani said.
Jethmalani added: "I have to request you to ensure that these critics from our party refrain from further comments till they know all the facts. I claim to know the facts from my own knowledge."
Jethmalani's letter was interpreted by political observers as a veiled attack on Sushma Swaraj and Jaitley, seen as contenders for the BJP's prime ministerial candidate.
The observers also said Jethmalani's letter could intensify factional feud in the BJP as Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is seen as another contender for the prime minister's post.
More trouble came for the BJP during the day from MP Shatrughan Sinha, who said in Patna that issues raised by Jethmalani and Yashwant Sinha should be looked at seriously.
Jethmalani was the first to publicly demand Gadkari's resignation for the alleged financial wrongdoings of the Purti Group he was linked with. Jethmalani was followed by his son Mahesh Jethmalani, Jagdish Shettigar and Yashwant Sinha.
Shatrughan Sinha said the issues raised by Jethmalani and Yashwant Sinha "should be looked at seriously".
Referring to Gadkari, he said a person occupying a responsible post should not only be honest but should also be seen as honest.
He said L.K. Advani was the best candidate for the prime minister's post in the party.
Gadkari is facing probe over financial dealings of investor firms in Purti Group but has been given a virtual clean chit by the BJP on the basis of probe by financial analyst S. Gurumurthy, who is close to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Jethmalani later defended his latest letter to Gadkari, saying he had exercised his freedom of speech.
BJP sources said Jethmalani in his letter had talked about an individual but the party had talked about the appointment process.