Jethmalani hits out at BJP bosses, says ready for expulsion
Suspended from the BJP, Ram Jethmalani Tuesday again hit out at party president Nitin Gadkari, and party leaders in parliament Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj and declared he was ready to face expulsion from the party.
The Rajya Sabha member and noted lawyer also told the media that he has sent a letter to Gadkari that he would not be able to reply within 10 days to the show-cause notice served on him and sought time till Dec 31.
In his letter to Gadkari, Jethmalani termed his suspension from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as "ultra vires", and accused the party chief of treading on the path of suicide and dragging the party with him.
Referring to the controversy over appointment of Ranjit Sinha as the new Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director, Jethmalani made veiled references to the alleged role of Jaitley in the litigation filed by his rival and Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar.
Jaitley, however, refused to get into a verbal duel with Jethmalani, telling reporters in Jammu that he did not think Jethmalani deserved "a reply any more".
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain, meanwhile, said in New Delhi it "was for Mr Jethmalani to give reply (to the show-cause notice)".
Jethmalani was suspended from the party Sunday and issued a show-cause notice for expulsion Monday over his demand for Gadkari's resignation and barbs against both Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj.
In his letter, Jethmalani said Gadkari's order suspending him from the party was usurpation of the power of the parliamentary board, adding that he suspected Gadkari of prejudice.
He also maintained he was totally indifferent to the step taken by Gadkari as his standing as a lawyer and in politics did not depend on his membership of parliament.
Referring to the controversy over Sinha's appointment as the new CBI director, Jethmalani said the litigation by Sinha's rival was too notorious a fact not to be known to party leaders. He claimed that the advocates appearing in the case were Jaitley's juniors in the legal profession.
Referring to Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj writing to the prime minister suggesting that the new CBI director should be appointed by collegium after the passage of the Lokpal bill, Jethmalani said appointment of the new CBI chief was "opposed by our leaders on some different grounds".
Addressing the media, Jethmalani said he had the right to speak freely on any issue.
"Opposition does not mean opposition for the sake of opposition. I am a man of common sense and intelligence. I have a right to express myself."
He accused Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Gadkari of damaging the BJP's interests by their conduct.
"I cannot account for their lack of wisdom," he said. "Even a Congress agent won't be able to do such work (to benefit the Congress).
"I am clear that their actions have enormously damaged the BJP's reputation, have caused irretrievable harm to the party. Today the common man says there is no difference between the Congress and the BJP."
Asked if he was targeting Gadkari, Jethmalani said: "All three of them, Gadkari in particular."
He defiantly added: "I am ready for expulsion."
But he said he was yet to get the show-cause notice. "If there is something for me to reply, I will reply. Otherwise I will tear it and throw it away."